7 July 2023

A new surgical era is under way at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust transforming care for patients who will benefit from quicker recoveries and better outcomes.

Surgeons have performed their first operations assisted by a state-of-the-art surgical robot.

As well as providing patients with high quality care, robotic surgery is helping reduce the length of time they are spending in hospital following complex operations. Patients are recovering quicker, with some even going home the same day.

The advancement in the use of technology in theatres also means that some patients will no longer have to travel outside the area to have their procedures.

The new robotic system is being used to assist with colorectal, gynaecology and urology surgery. It enables the surgeon to perform operations that are less invasive and with more precision than conventional methods.

Louise Barnett, Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to harnessing new technology to enable us to provide our patients with high quality healthcare.

“I am incredibly proud of our highly skilled surgical team for their dedication in driving forward innovation so we can transform healthcare for everyone in our communities. It is particularly significant that this comes during the 75th birthday year for the NHS as it underpins the crucial role that innovation plays in helping us to meet the needs of our patients.”

Mr Adam Farquharson, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon who performs robotic surgery, said: “The introduction of the robotic assisted surgery is fantastic for patients and the Trust. It has moved us into a new era where cutting edge technology will greatly benefit our patients and colleagues.

“It allows us to perform complex surgery with more precision, so it is less invasive than other conventional methods. It also means the impact from complex surgery, including for advanced cancers and pelvic diseases, is significantly reduced and patients are able to resume their normal activities and daily living very quickly.”

Peter Clifton, from Telford, was one of the first patients to have robotic surgery at the Trust, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals. Mr Clifton’s hospital stay post operation was three days instead of between seven and nine days.

Mr Clifton said: “It was such a privilege. The surgery went so smoothly and was brilliant. The operation was for about six hours, but I was up within 24 hours and walking, and home within three days. It was absolutely remarkable.

“I have a number of health conditions and thought the operation would knock me about and be difficult to recover from, but it has been really straightforward, and I am so impressed with it all. The doctors said it was new and less intrusive and that turned out to be the case.

“Everybody who has looked after me has been like a big family and helped me immensely. The staff were impeccable, they treated me amazingly.”

Surgeons and surgical teams have spent many months undergoing specialist training to be able to use the robot, including the use of simulation.

Mr Matthew Wood, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is one of the Trust’s robotic surgeons. He said: “As a surgeon, this is very exciting. It is a new, innovative way to carry out surgical procedures and will bring many benefits for our patients including quicker recoveries and fewer complications.

“As well as the benefits it brings to our patients, we hope it will attract new generations of highly skilled surgeons, doctors, anaesthetists, nurses, ODPs, and healthcare staff to join our Trust.”