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New surgical robot to celebrate NHS 75th birthday

Addenbrooke’s is celebrating the 75th birthday of the NHS today with the arrival of a new surgical robot following a hugely successful £1.5m fundraising campaign by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.

New surgical robot for Addenbrooke's
CUH consultant surgeons Mr Michael Powar, Professor Grant Stewart and Mr Constantinos Simillis with the new surgical robot.

Addenbrooke’s has always been at the forefront of surgical innovation and the arrival of this new da Vinci robot, with a dual training consol, is fantastic news for our patients and the clinicians who treat them.

Professor Grant Stewart, CUH consultant surgeon

Hundreds of generous supporters contributed to the campaign to buy this second surgical robot, which will make a significant difference to thousands of patients and help reduce waiting lists.

With fewer large incisions during surgery, the robotic system, which is controlled by a surgeon, enables quicker recovery times, allowing patients to go home sooner, in some cases the very next day, freeing up beds in the hospital.

New surgical robot for Addenbrooke's
CUH's other da Vinci surgical robot has been in use at the Trust for ten years.

The da Vinci Xi surgical system, from Intuitive, is one of the most advanced pieces of robotic surgical technology available and is in addition to the existing da Vinci robot which has been in operation at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) for the last ten years.

The latest system has a dual surgeon console, which allows surgical trainees to gain hands-on experience of robotic-assisted surgery alongside an experienced surgeon. This will enable more teams to train to use the da Vinci systems and will help patients across six surgical specialities:

  • Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT)
  • Gynaecology
  • Gynae-oncology
  • Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB)
  • Colorectal
  • Urology

Additionally, because of the charity’s support, CUH is going to be able to lease a third robot. This Versius robot from CMR surgical will allow surgical teams to add further upper gastrointestinal, benign gynaecological and colorectal specialities to the service – benefitting even more patients.

Photo of consultant surgeon Grant Stewart
Professor Grant Stewart, CUH consultant surgeon

Once again, our fantastic and generous supporters are revolutionising healthcare for patients.

Shelly Thake, ACT's CEO

Shelly Thake, ACT’s CEO, said:

“Charitable donations not only help us fund that which cannot be funded by the NHS alone, but importantly help us demonstrate the value of innovation that can then be adopted by the NHS.”

Dr Ashley Shaw, medical director for CUH said:

“We are so pleased that ACT has again helped us transform healthcare at CUH. Robotic surgery offers numerous patient benefits, such as shorter hospital stays, while also addressing surgical waiting list backlogs.

"ACT's support was instrumental in securing an additional da Vinci robot, which will allow the hospital to enhance the lives of even more individuals.”

Surgeon performing robotic surgery
A CUH surgeon sits at the console, controlling the robot.

The CUH Robotic Surgical Group (RUG) group has worked alongside ACT and the Trust to set-up the new services.

Involved are co-chairs, Professor Grant Stewart (Urology) and Mr Siong Liau (HPB); Mr Michael Powar (Colorectal); Miss Ekpemi Irune (ENT); Mr Liam Masterson (ENT); Mr Krishnayan Haldar (Gynae-oncology); Mr Saikat Banerjee (Gynaecology); Mr Simon Harper (HPB); and Miss Alex Colquhoun (Urology).

Professor Grant Stewart, said:

“Addenbrooke’s has always been at the forefront of surgical innovation and the arrival of this new da Vinci robot, with a dual training consol, is fantastic news for our patients and the clinicians who treat them.”

Mr Liau added:

“We thank ACT and the donors who make this possible. Their immense contributions will allow CUH to offer robotic surgery for the first time in five new specialities in addition to urology - with a large number of patients likely to benefit from these innovative surgeries.”

Atanu Pal
Atanu Pal, CUH surgeon and fundraiser

CUH and ACT would like to thank those who generously supported the robot appeal over the last two years, including the Cambridge Independent newspaper and those who took up many challenges to raise money.

They include CUH surgeon, Atanu Pal, who took part in the virtual London Marathon in 2021, running a route that spelled out the word ROBOT.

Also the Cambridgeshire Vintage Tractor Club, which rallied more than 100 tractors to drive through South Cambridgeshire villages, and Frances Dewhurst, who challenged herself to walk up her flight of stairs at home 10 times a day for 100 days, in memory of her late sisters, Hilary and Charlotte.

A person's hands drawing and writing during a workshop at the CUH Arts festival
CUH Arts Festival 2023

Alongside the arrival of the new robot, the CUH Arts Festival is taking place this week for patients and staff, which co-incides with the NHS 75th birthday on 5 July.

To add to the celebrations, illustrator Jim Butler and writer Hannah Jane Walker will be at the Trust to capture staff experiences for the national hospital arts project “Our National Health Stories”.

And at lunchtime, Britten Sinfonia and Sing! Choirs @ CBC will be performing sets at The Green and The Gardens.

Birthday celebrations will also include a BBQ for staff and cake cutting.

ACT is pleased to be supporting CUH in the 75th year of the NHS, and in the years to come.

Anyone interested in donating should visit (opens in a new tab)