Donations give cash boost for Da Vinci robot

The new Da Vinci Robot. Surgeon Jim Khan makes adjustments.'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (132761-8)
The new Da Vinci Robot. Surgeon Jim Khan makes adjustments.'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (132761-8)
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A FUNDRAISING drive to keep a futuristic surgical robot in Portsmouth has hit the £750,000 mark.

Thanks to donations from members of the public, businesses and organisations, the first payment for the Da Vinci robot has been met.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, in Cosham, acquired the robot last May. And in its first year, scores of procedures have been carried out by the hi-tech equipment, which has provided better outcomes for patients.

A total of £2.4m is being raised by The Rocky Appeal to keep the robot at QA permanently.

Mick Lyons, head of the appeal, said: ‘It’s marvellous we’ve got to £750,000 and that’s because of people’s generous donations.

‘We have some fundraisers coming up and we hope lots of people will get behind them to keep the drive going.

‘This robot is so beneficial to patients because you don’t have as invasive surgery and so your recovery time is shorter.’

As previously reported, the robot can perform keyhole surgery which means surgeons can look inside a patient without having to cut into them. The machine is controlled by specially-trained consultants who can see inside a patient more clearly via a console.

QA is the only hospital in the area to have the robot, and the only one in the country which is using it for five disciplines.

This includes colorectal, head and neck, urology and gynaecology patients.

Lemke Solomon is a consultant urology surgeon who uses the machine at QA.

He said: ‘I feel fortunate to work in a hospital that aspires to minimise the impact of surgery on cancer patients. Portsmouth is only one of 14 robots in the country. This technology is not available in Southampton or Chichester, our nearest neighbouring hospitals.

‘Many patients will reap the benefit of this technology in recovering more quickly and more fully from their operations.’

A sponsored walk is taking place on Sunday, April 26 to continue the fundraising drive.

It starts in Eastney at the toilet block and ends in the Still and West pub.

The walk starts at 10am and there is no registration fee but people are advised to get a sponsorship form. For more information on the appeal, call Mr Lyons on (023) 9228 6487 or e-mail