New robot technology improving cancer care


The installation of a new state-of-the-art surgical robot at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) is benefiting cancer patients.

The Denise Coates Foundation, through an £8.4 million gift, funded the £2 million robot as part of the charity’s support for the Trust’s cancer care.

Over 340 major colorectal cancer resections have been performed in the last five years, and training for a sixth surgeon is underway in that unit as UHNM strives to become more globally recognised.

This new robotic ecosystem is state-of-the-art and will help us take patient care to the next level at UHNM. Our aspiration is to become a leading robotic colorectal unit nationally with all surgeons trained. By year end we will have eight colorectal surgeons trained and the rest by the end of 2023.”

– Philip Varghese, consultant surgeon and lead for colorectal robotic surgery at UHNM

Staff can access 47 skill exercises, 19 3DHD clinical movies, and 30 procedure simulations using the integrated robotic simulation system, which helps surgeons and higher surgical trainees learn more joint operations for more complex surgeries.

Advanced ultrasound probes, which when used intraoperatively, allow surgeons to execute more targeted advanced cancer surgery, as well as digital hub connectivity, which allows the Trust to film and record procedures for training and review, are also included in the equipment.

The robot ecosystem also includes integrated table motion to dynamically control patient position during surgery.

At UHNM our aim is to deliver outstanding cancer care for the population of Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. Our excellent reputation attracts the best and brightest clinical staff and the generosity of the Denise Coates Foundation will help us to continue to develop our training programme and services. This will benefit patients and staff for generations to come.”

– Achilleas Tsiamis, clinical director for surgery

The robot will soon be available for colorectal trainees under Health Education England West Midlands too.



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