NHS Wales has signed a multi-year contract with CMR Surgical as part of a national robotics assisted surgery programme.

Under the terms of the contract, CMR Surgical will initially install four Versius Surgical Robotic Systems across a number of hospitals in Wales, with over 1,300 patients expected to benefit from the programme annually.

Wales is the first country in the world to introduce a national robotics assisted surgery programme, in partnership with industry, with the goal of transforming quality of care and outcomes for patients.

As part of a national innovation drive to enhance surgical outcomes for cancer patients, Versius will be used to perform procedures across colorectal, upper gastrointestinal, urological and gynaecology specialities.

The service will be first provided at Betsi Cadwaladr and Cardiff and Vale Health Boards, before further expansions to other health boards in the future.

CMR Surgical was appointed as the industry partner following a competitive procurement process, aligned to the National Value-Based Health Care Programme, with the ambition of transforming the system of care throughout Wales.

The decision to appoint CMR was based on its ability to meet performance, quality, and pricing criteria. The fact that Versius will enable surgeons to perform complex keyhole operations precisely and accurately was significant in the decision.

Dr Mark Slack, chief medical officer at CMR Surgical, said: “This is a landmark move by NHS Wales and one that will bring many benefits to surgeons and patients providing them access to life changing innovation.

“We are proud to be part of this programme and believe countries around the world will be looking towards Wales as a potential model for implementation of surgical robotics using advanced technology.

“We would like to thank NHS Wales for choosing us as a partner in this exciting robotics programme to address overwhelming needs for improved surgical care and outcomes for cancer patients in Wales.”

In partnership with Welsh Health Boards, CMR will help develop a robotic network in Wales by supporting the implementation of Versius systems, delivering training and education countrywide, supporting research, and providing the CMR global clinical registry to understand the development of patient outcomes and enable patient safety.

Eluned Morgan, health and social services minister for Wales, said: “The All-Wales Robotic Assisted Surgery Network is an ambitious and important programme helping to improve outcomes for patients and the NHS in Wales.

“It will put Wales at the forefront of international research for the use of robotic surgical techniques. This pioneering service will also encourage specialist staff to come to Wales to train and practice.”

NHS Wales have been continuously improving their healthcare through better infrastructure and technology over the last year. In September 2021, they implemented Malinko’s e-scheduling software to all of the country’s community healthcare professionals.

A few weeks later, they selected Citadel Health to provide a new laboratory system, which aims to enable faster processing of tests and improved clinical safety.