Huddersfield Royal Infirmary begins operating with next-generation surgical robot

Some of our surgical colleagues stand with Versius the robot
Ken is up and about after surgery. Pictured with the surgical team.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has become the first NHS trust in Yorkshire to install a new surgical robot that aims to improve surgical outcomes and patient care.

Ten colorectal operations have now been carried out with the Versius surgical robot at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, marking a significant step in the Trust’s commitment to provide patients with the latest advancements in surgical care.

The small, modular robot can be easily moved between theatres and integrated into existing workflows and operating rooms, so that multiple teams can use Versius.

The first wave of robotic surgery is being led by the Colorectal team at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, but the surgical robot will soon be used in other specialties, including urology and gynaecology.

The robot is operated by a surgeon, who sits at a console with a 3D monitor in the same room as the patient, and controls upto five robotic arms, which operate the surgical camera and instruments.

72-year-old Ken Idle, from Cleckheaton, was the first patient to be operated on by Miss Grey and Mr Hussain ( Colorectal Consultants) and said his care had been    “top notch” from start to finish.

He said he had been put totally at ease throughout after he came in for a removal of part of the bowel, following a cancer diagnosis. And, two weeks after the surgery, he was told he didn’t require any further treatment.

He said: “I am very happy. I have had excellent care I could not fault in any respect. It has been brilliant. Top notch.

“The anaesthetist put me at ease at the start, then when Miss Grey [the surgeon who performed the operation] came to see me the next day her smile said it all. Then she said it could not have gone better and that just meant everything to me.

“If anyone has any qualms about having surgery with the robot, I’d tell them there’s nothing to worry about. I was up and about walking the next day.

After receiving the good news about not needing any further treatment, Ken’s mind is on the future. He said: “I feel like I can do anything now. To have a clear path forward is amazing - holidays are on the horizon.”

Tamsyn Grey, Colorectal Surgeon at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, was the first to operate with the new technology. She said: “We’re thrilled to get started with surgical robotics at HRI. Using a surgical robot gives surgeons an enhanced vision of the procedure so they can be more precise and accurate. Having performed ten cases, we are already seeing the benefits for patients in terms of less pain and a shorter stay in hospital.”

Laura Cooper, Deputy Director of Operations at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “People often think technology like a surgical robot will be more likely to appear at the larger teaching hospitals, but we’re committed to doing the best for our patients of Huddersfield, Halifax and beyond.

“Introducing robotics into the organisation has given a real morale boost into the theatres and surgical teams. It is not only leading to improved outcomes for the surgeon and patient, but we’ll also start to learn more about surgery from the data that we’ll capture from the robot during operations.”

Ana Raduc, General Manager (UK & Ireland) at CMR Surgical, said: "Starting robotic surgery at Huddersfield is a major step forward in democratising access to robotic surgery across the whole of the UK. We believe that by making advanced surgical technology like Versius more widely available, we can deliver a higher standard of care to patients across the country."