Two years of success for our surgical robots
Over 750 patients have benefited from robotic surgery at The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals since the equipment was introduced two years ago. Robotic surgery is not yet standard across the NHS and it was our £5.1m funding which made it possible to bring the robots to Barts Health NHS Trust.
Robotic surgery at The Royal London Hospital
Surgeon Miss Elly Brockbank with The Royal London Hospital's surgical robot

The robots have been used for a number of UK firsts, including the first robotic insertion of a peritoneal dialysis catheter to help patients with end stage kidney failure. St Bartholomew’s Hospital has the only robot in the UK dedicated to cardiothoracic (heart, chest and lungs) surgery, while The Royal London’s is being shared across a unique group of six different surgical specialties for the first time.

Now that the technology has been bedded in, surgeons will begin to take on more complex cases, like patients with a high BMI who previously wouldn’t have been able to have keyhole surgery.

A number of clinical trials are underway using the robots and the surgical teams are upskilling fellow specialists across the globe – this year they will present at conferences in Barcelona and New York.

Robotic surgery at The Royal London Hospital
Robotic surgery at Barts Hospital

A happy patient

Janice from Rainham recently had a hysterectomy using the surgical robot at The Royal London Hospital. The 79-year old was diagnosed with cancer of the womb following an earlier procedure to remove polyps, but after her robotic operation to remove her womb she’s now cancer-free. She says: “When I was told robots, I had visions of Star Wars until Miss Brockbank explained it to me. But it was absolutely wonderful, it’s a shame all hospitals can’t be equipped. 

I had my surgery 5 weeks ago, and I’ve just been showing my friend the scars.  I can barely see them, they are very very faint and they are very very tiny. I had no pain afterwards whatsoever, I was quite surprised. I only experienced pain once and that was when someone spoke to me and I turned round too quickly and I got a twinge of a pulled stitch. 

I can’t praise the team enough, it was absolutely wonderful. Miss Brockbank is a lovely person. She cuddled me as I left and we both said in the best possible way “I hope I don’t see you again”.

Patient treated by robotic surgery
Robotic patient Janice

Teaching and learning

The robotic programme across Barts Health is benefitting from the established research partnerships with Queen Mary University of London and surgeons are collaborating to develop new techniques and better understanding.

A number of clinical trials are underway using the robots and the surgical teams are upskilling fellow specialists across the globe – this year they will present at conferences in Barcelona and New York.

Surgeon at the controls of DaVinci surgical robot
A close-up of the hand controls

How it works

Although surgical robots sound like they belong in sci-fi film, they’re actually controlled by human surgeons. Tiny incisions are made for the robots’ arms which hold miniature tools and a camera. The surgeon sits away from the patient at a control console, immersed in live 3D images from the camera and controlling the tiny tools using their hands and feet. This allows for extremely precise and delicate surgery.

Benefits for patients

These less invasive techniques mean significant advantages for patients, including:

  • shorter stays in hospital; even patients undergoing major cancer surgery can now be discharged home on the same day or just one day after surgery
  • less post-operative pain and minimal scarring
  • fewer complications after operations, with patients returning to pre-operative levels of health faster
  • reduced blood loss and less need for blood transfusions
  • previously inoperable patients to be treated
Robotic surgery at The Royal London Hospital
Mr Kelvin Lau using the robotic console at St Bartholomew's Hospital

A surgeon’s perspective

Mr Kelvin Lau, consultant and lead for thoracic surgery at Barts Health NHS Trust says: “The Da Vinci robot has expanded the number of people able to have surgery, as well as proving particularly effective in those who have tumours in places that are difficult to reach. The technology is a completely new experience for me and the clinical advantages are breath-taking. I am incredibly grateful to Barts Charity for making this possible.” 

Latest tweets

Did you know, nurses are said to walk between 3-6 miles in a 12 hour shift? Thanks to @NHSCharities, renovations a… https://t.co/7uEUiNuOSy

On Instagram

You might also like

Royal Parks Half Marathon - Charity place registration

Thank you for registering for one of our charity places – and welcome to the Barts Charity team!

By submitting this form you are agreeing for us to contact you with race-day information, training and fundraising tips in relation to the Royal Parks Half Marathon 2021. This may include email, phone call or text message. You can of course update your preferences at any time, and we will fully respect your wishes (see below for more information).

Application information

*¹Please note we will do our best to match your wishes to the most relevant fund, but we cannot guarantee that sponsorship will be used to fund specific items

Note:
We may take photos on the day at the event, which could be used in Barts Charity communications and marketing activity, including but not limited to our website, social media, digital or printed materials, and press. If you are not happy for your image to be used in this way, please contact us on the details below. You can change how you hear from us at any time – contact hello@bartscharity.org.uk, or call 020 7618 1720. We collect and process your data to administer our Royal Parks Half Marathon 2021 places and to send you updates. For more information about how we use and protect the information you’re kindly sharing with us, see our privacy policy.

Hospital staff holding sign that says 'Thank you!'
Your're signed up!

Thanks – look in your inbox soon for updates on our work and how your support is making the difference.

Hospital staff holding sign that says 'Thank you!'
Thank you for registering your details, we will get back to you soon.

If you have any queries in the mean time please email: hello@bartscharity.org.uk 

Hospital staff holding sign that says 'Thank you!'
Thank you for subscribing!

We’ll send our latest news straight to your inbox each month, keeping you up-to-date with how your support is helping more people across our community and beyond receive extraordinary healthcare. In the meantime you may like to find out how you can get involved to help change lives, or to read our latest news.

Let us know at anytime if you have any questions or would like
more information on our work.

Thanks again for your support – it makes all the difference.

Expression of interest

Application information

This brief Expression of Interest is to help us consider if your proposal is something the Charity would potentially fund.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Barts Charity Champion!

Please enter your details and a member of the team will be in touch soon.

Can we keep in touch?

Sign up here to receive our e-news for staff of the Barts Health Hospitals and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Our fortnightly email will keep you updated on how staff are using our funding to make a difference, as well as ways that you can get involved with fundraising.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

To find out how we look after and use the information that you give us, take a look at our privacy policy.

Hospital staff holding sign that says 'Thank you!'
Thank you for your donation!
From innovative research to day-to-day comforts, you’re helping us to do more for the patients in the hospitals we support. We will email you confirmation of your donation within two working days.
Thank you again.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Your donation

You’re making a single donation of

£

Where would you like your donation to go?

Is this donation in memory of anyone?

What motivated you to give/fundraise?

We like to share feedback with our NHS colleagues when they have inspired someone.

What did you do to fundraise?

Your details

You are generously donating £5.00

Personal information

How would you like to make your payment?

Payment details

You are generously donating £5.00

Payment card details

Sign up to our e-news

Our fortnightly email is full of the latest news about the healthcare innovation that we fund, and ways you might want to get involved. You’ll be able to unsubscribe at anytime.

To find out how we look after and use the information you give us, take a look at our privacy policy.

Main form heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.