A PLEA has been made to keep pioneering life-saving equipment at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
The hi-tech Da Vinci robot has helped thousands of patients needing keyhole surgery at the Cosham hospital since 2012.
Securing the robot will benefit a lot of people and a lot of lives can be saved.Mick Lyons
QA is the only hospital in the country which uses the robot to perform surgery in five different areas.
But £780,000 now needs to be raised in 22 months to pay off the remainder of the contract for the equipment and ensure it stays at QA.
Through its fundraising Rocky Appeal, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs QA – has already brought in £1.6m towards keeping the robot.
Now a rallying call has been made to bring in the rest of the cash to ensure lives can continue to be saved.
Rocky Appeal co-ordinator Mick Lyons said: ‘Securing the robot will benefit a lot of people and a lot of lives can be saved.
‘Lots of fundraisers are held in this area for us so it would be fantastic to see that carry on to reach our £2.4m total.
‘The robot can help so many people; there’s a range of illnesses and surgeries that can be carried out.
‘It has saved so many lives and it is the future of surgery now.’
While QA is hoping to keep the robot, if the remaining money is not raised, it could be taken by American company Intuitive Surgical which owns it.
Mr Lyons added: ‘We want to keep the Da Vinci robot in Portsmouth.
‘We use it daily and it would be a massive loss to us.’
Using the remote-controlled robot means surgeons can work more precisely and with more manoeuvrability than by using traditional methods.
They have 3D views and can get to hard-to-reach areas in the body – such as the prostate, oesophagus and rectum – more easily, leaving 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.
Dr Jim Khan, consultant surgeon, uses the robot more than 200 times a year at QA.
He said: ‘The robot is a game-changer for me.
‘It also makes a huge difference for the lives of our patients.
‘It is less invasive and they have a shorter recovery time.
‘We desperately need support for the Rocky Appeal which will allow us to extend the benefits of robotic surgery to the people of Portsmouth and further afield.’
To find out more about the appeal and how to donate, call Mick on (023) 9228 6487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. uk.