Two new da Vinci Xi surgical robot systems were received this month by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, and now surgical teams are training in readiness for the system to be used in operating theatres from this summer.

The £1.5m robots, from Intuitive, are now in place at both Musgrove Park and Yeovil Hospital.

Using robots in surgery delivers greater operative precision for the surgeons operating the equipment. As a result patients typically face less post-operative pain, have smaller scars and are less prone to complications or lengthy hospital stays.

For NHS Highland – who took delivery of its first da Vinci Xi in August 2021 – robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) has transformed patient care. In June last year the company revealed that the Scottish health board had reduced the average length of a hospital stay for those undergoing open surgery from eight with conventional surgery to four with RAS.

At Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, the da Vinci Xi robots will enable surgeons at the two hospitals to perform more intricate, less invasive surgery across more disciplines.

Mr Richard Bamford, colorectal surgeon at the trust, said: “The system translates the surgeon’s hand movements at the console in real time, bending and rotating the instruments while performing the procedure. The tiny instruments move like a human hand, but with a greater range of motion.

“It also means we will be able to conduct more intricate surgery, which will be less invasive for the patient.”

The funding for the robots came from the hospital’s League of Friends. Peter Renshaw, chairman of the league, commented: “It not only improves the lives of patients and staff, but it helps ensure that Musgrove has the latest state-of-the-art equipment, which helps with the recruitment and retention of the best staff.”

Professor Daniel Meron, chief medical officer at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We want to embrace the latest cutting-edge technology, which can improve the care and treatment we are able to provide for our patients.

“We hope this will be a real boost for our colleagues too and I’m looking forward to seeing our surgeons making full use of the robots.”