Robot surgery gets boost in tie-up with manufacturer

A robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) company has developed its support for the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) by supporting a new multi-professional network expected to shape the future national development of using robots.

Robot manufacturer Intuitive’s surgery proctor team mentoring trainees

The three-year collaboration aims to accelerate the safe integration of RAS into healthcare nationally and help surgeons at all levels of training and experience to become RAS proficient.

RCS England and Intuitive see RAS as one of the key changes in how surgery is delivered across healthcare in the next ten years. 

The collaboration will help the college’s work to review and develop the evidence base for  using robotics and ensure training in using them enables improved patient outcomes.

Surgeons believe Intuitive’s support will enable RCS England to strengthen the programme management infrastructure and resources available to support a multiprofessional network of experts. 

The multiprofessional expert network team will regularly convene to:

 Drive future research into RAS;

 Facilitate improved access to training in robotic techniques;

 Improve the quality of national data available about RAS; 

 Raise public, patient and policy awareness.

Since publishing its Future of Surgery report in December 2018, the RCS England Robotics programme has helped secure funding to drive research in surgical data science and qualitative assessment of RAS’s introduction in the NHS.

The college has developed guidance on the safe and structured introduction of RAS which aims to support fruitful collaboration between surgeons, hospitals and industry.


What they say

Prof Neil Mortensen

Prof Neil Mortensen, Royal College of Surgeons’ immediate past-president: 

‘Robotics is here to stay and we need to leverage this technology and increase take-up where this supports the best quality patient care. 

‘When I have spoken to surgeons across the country, I have heard how RAS can help reduce the physical strain of their work. The college wants to be a driving force in the safe integration of RAS into healthcare nationally, a crucial move in recruiting and retaining surgeons.

‘Robotic-assisted surgery is not part of the future of surgery; this shift is already occurring. It is the here and now and, when used appropriately, can help surgeons to conduct procedures more precisely and enable patients to recover quicker.

‘The college is committed to supporting the safe introduction and development of RAS across all platforms and welcomes the close and constructive dialogue between the profession and all RAS industry stakeholders in the interest of better care for patients. Our collaboration with Intuitive is one major step in this process.’ 

David Marante

David Marante, Intuitive UK and Ireland regional director: 

‘The Royal College of Surgeons of England has set a clear vision for the future of surgery and the role of RAS in evolving surgical training and care for patients. The future is now – which is why it is a privilege to support the college’s efforts as it drives forward this important work.

‘I’m confident that over the course of this three-year collaboration, the college and Intuitive can work together to continue demonstrating the clinical, operational and strategic value of RAS, enabling current and future generations of surgeons and care teams to continue to have access to our da Vinci RAS technology and ensure they are able to deliver the best outcomes for patients.’