West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has joined forces with CMR Surgical to install two Versius robotic systems at Watford General Hospital.

The investment in two systems comes as part of the trust’s commitment to scaling up its robotic-assisted surgery programme and becoming a centre of excellence in minimally invasive robotic surgery.

Once fully implemented, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals plans to provide surgical procedures using Versius across multiple specialities, including colorectal, gynaecology, urology and upper gastrointestinal surgery.

The trust intends to replicate the savings in bed days seen at sites with existing Versius programmes, helping to ease the pressure NHS services are facing with bed capacity.

Vanash Patel, consultant colorectal surgeon at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are excited to implement our surgical robotics programme, helping to drive better outcomes for our patients. With Versius, our surgeons will be able to perform complex operations with the enhanced precision and control that robotics offer.

“We are committed to scaling up our robotics programme at speed and believe that having two robotic systems from the outset, which can be easily moved between operating rooms and integrated into existing workflows, will help us achieve this.”

As well as Versius being easily movable, the system also has an open console that facilitates clear verbal and non-verbal communication between the surgeon and surgical team.

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals expects that scaling its surgical robotics programme will see more patients being offered a minimal access approach, bringing with it benefits that include a reduction in post-operative pain, blood loss and scarring as well as improved patient recovery times and a reduced stay in hospitals for patients.

The trust also hopes the programme, alongside its teaching hospital status, will increase staff wellbeing, morale, and talent attraction and retention.

The two robotic systems have been designed by CMR Surgical, a global medical devices company. CMR has successfully negotiated competitive tenders in numerous markets and Versius is continuing to expand rapidly within the NHS in the UK. In the last 18 months, the robots have been implemented at several trusts and hospitals, including Frimley Health Trust, East Surrey Hospital, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust.

Dr Mark Slack, chief medical officer at CMR Surgical, said: “We’re hugely proud to partner with WHTH on an NHS-first implementation of two Versius systems.

“We know from previous partnerships, that as well as providing improved patient outcomes through access to MAS, and a more comfortable quality of working life for surgical teams, an investment in surgical robotics like this will truly put WHTH on the map as a centre for excellence in health technology.”