Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has added a fourth surgical robot to to its collection in a bid to speed up cancer operations delayed by the pandemic.

The new addition joins three 4th generation da Vinci surgical systems from manufacturer Intuitive which the trust already owns and with four machines, the trust now has the largest robotic programme in the UK currently.

The new robot, which is on loan until the end of the year, will operate on NHS patients from the private floors of the Cancer Centre at Guy’s as part of a collaboration with private healthcare provider, HCA Healthcare UK. The new delivery will help to clear a backlog of surgical procedures and it is also hoped it will lead to improved patient outcomes. The use of robots in surgery leads to increased operative precision which can mean less pain for patients, smaller scars and reduced hospital stays post-surgery.

David Marante, regional director of Intuitive in the UK and Ireland, said: “The pandemic has highlighted that there is a need for a transformative approach to the NHS’s recovery, and the use of our da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical technology aims to improve outcomes for patients and lower the total cost of care in ways that have never been more pertinent.”

In December 2020, South Tees Hospital Foundation Trust joined Guys’ and St Thomas’ as one of only three NHS trusts to have a team of surgical robots. Guy’s and St Thomas’ carries out around 1,100 robotic surgeries a year. The extra surgical robot will increase the number of procedures by more than 300 a year, making it the largest robotic programme in the UK.