Calls for people to help raise remaining £350,000 for QA’s Da Vinci robot

Ethan Roberts-Watts, 13, from Gosport, is donating presents to elderly patients at QA Hospital

Gosport boy answers QA Hospital appeal and donates gifts to patients

  • QA Hospital has nine months to raise £350,000 for the Da Vinci robot
  • They are calling for people in Portsmouth to carry on supporting this cause
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HELP us save more lives by raising the final £350,000 for our surgical robot.

That is the message from surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital who want to see the Da Vinci robot paid off and kept at the Cosham facility.

Dr 
Jim Kahn with the Da Vinci robot     Picture: Habibur Rahman

Dr Jim Kahn with the Da Vinci robot Picture: Habibur Rahman

The surgical system performs operations using key-hole technology and has been used more than 2,000 times since it was leased to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) in 2012.

In the past five years, the Rocky Appeal has been fundraising the £2.4m needed for QA Hospital to pay American firm Intuitive Surgical for the robot.

The appeal now has until June next year to raise the remaining £350,000. They are calling on people in Portsmouth to support them in their final push.

And now The News is backing the drive to see the balance paid off and guarantee the hi-tech equipment stays at QA Hospital.

People of Portsmouth have supported this cause well.

Dr Jim Khan

To do this, we want to know if you are fundraising for the Rocky Appeal and the details of your event to give them coverage in the paper.

Dr Jim Khan, consultant colorectal and robotic surgeon at QA Hospital, said: ‘People of Portsmouth have supported this cause well.

‘I hope they will continue to do so and enable us to save more lives and help us in our fight to beat cancer.

‘The use of robotic technology in general surgery, and in particular cancer surgery, has revolutionised the treatment for most of our patients.

‘Traditional surgery is very complicated but often can clear the cancer. It can, however, have potential side affects and complications which we call collateral damage.

‘But using the Da Vinci robot has seen immense benefits for the patients. There is less pain, less collateral damage and more chances of removing a cancer completely.

‘The benefits for the surgeon are there as well. We can teach junior doctors in a safe and controlled environment and we can rest and perform surgery in a more comfortable environment, in a comfortable position.

‘We can see the picture on a 3D screen which allows him to perform a better operation.’

QA Hospital is the only facility in the south to have a Da Vinci robot and has been used more than 2,000 times since its introduction in 2012.

Dr Khan said it had been used around 400 times for patients with colorectal cancer — one of five areas of the body the robot can be used for.

He added: ‘Robotics came into medical use more than 10 years ago. It was developed by Nasa and used in space missions.

‘The USA has been the leader in terms of robotic systems available for surgeons to treat cancer patients. They have more 1,800 systems.

‘In the UK there has been an increase in use but up to six years ago there were only eight in the country.’

Using the remote-controlled robot means surgeons can work more precisely and with more manoeuvrability than by using traditional methods.

While sitting in a chair in front of a HD monitor, the surgeon can control the equipment in a comfortable position.

The robot’s four arms and hands, which can twist 360 degrees, means narrow and hard-to-reach parts of the body – such as the prostate, oesophagus and rectum – can be operated on with precision and care. The surgeon has 3D views and use of the robot leaves minimal scarring and pain for the patient.

The five areas the robot is being used in are upper gastrointestinal, urology, colorectal, gynaecology, and head and neck.

Portsmouth leads the way when it comes to robotic surgery and was named as the training centre for European surgeons in 2014.

The Da Vinci robot has also performed the largest number of procedures in the country.

Dr Khan said: ‘We have the expertise in medical specialties in Portsmouth.

‘We have performed most operations using the system and train other surgeons across the UK and Europe.’

Email details of fundraising events to ellie.pilmoor@thenews.co.uk.