Surgical robots have made their way to East Surrey Hospital to assist with complex procedures, including cancer operations.

A deal between CMR Surgical and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, will see Versius robots used to increase access to keyhole surgery – a minimally invasive procedure that’s known to have a shorter recovery time.

It’s the first time surgeons at the hospital will be working a robotic system, which will be part of a multi-specialty programme. Versius robots will first be used in the urology department before expanding to colorectal, upper GI, gynaecology and general surgery.

The compact size of the robot makes it easily portable between departments and operating rooms. The installation will also allow more patients to benefit from cutting-edge robotic technology which provides minimal access surgery.

Otherwise known as keyhole surgery, the procedure is associated with a range of benefits for patients including less pain, reduced risk of infection, reduced recovery time and a shorter stay in hospital compared with traditional open surgery.

Professor Abhay Rane, consultant urological surgeon at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Versius’ clear 3D visualisation gives surgeons greater precision and control, thereby allowing for safer surgery with improved outcomes in the long run. It will be used in due course by all of our surgical specialties here at our trust thereby benefiting a significant number of patients.”

Mark Slack, chief medical officer at CMR Surgical, added: “In designing Versius our goal was to provide a versatile and portable surgical robotic system – that could fit into virtually any operating room – to realise our mission to transform the field of minimal access surgery and make it available to many more patients around the world.”

The continued expansion of Versius within the NHS means more patients than ever before will be able to benefit from keyhole procedures. It’s been just less than 18 months since Versius was first used for keyhole surgery. Prior to this the robot had been used to carry out colorectal surgeries for patients with serious bowel disease or cancer.