Robotic-assisted surgery company Intuitive has joined forces with the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) to support a new multi-professional network that will shape the future development of robotic-assisted surgery (RAS).

The goal of the three-year collaboration is the safe integration of RAS into healthcare nationally. In addition, it also aims to support surgeons at all levels of training and experience to become proficient in RAS.

Intuitive will support RSC England in strengthening its programme management infrastructure and the resources available to support professionals.

An independent group of experts will regularly meet to help drive future research into RAS, facilitate improved access to RAS training, improve the quality of national data on RAS and to raise public, patient and policy awareness.

Professor Neil Mortensen, immediate past president of RSC England, said: “Robotics is here to stay — and we need to leverage this technology and increase take-up where this supports the best quality patient care.

“When I have spoken to surgeons across the country, I have heard how RAS can help reduce the physical strain of their work. The college wants to be a driving force in the safe integration of RAS into healthcare nationally, a crucial move in recruiting and retaining surgeons.

“Robotic-assisted surgery is not part of the future of surgery; this shift is already occurring. It is the here and now, and when used appropriately, can help surgeons to conduct procedures more precisely and enable patients to recover quicker.

“The college is committed to supporting the safe introduction and development of RAS across all platforms and welcomes the close and constructive dialogue between the profession and all RAS industry stakeholders in the interest of better care for patients. Our collaboration with Intuitive is one major step in this process.”

Intuitive da Vinci Xi surgical robot system are increasingly being used across the NHS. Somerset NHS Foundation Trust gained two of the machines in April this year to use at Musgrove Park and Yeovil Hospital. While NHS Highland started using the DaVinci Xi robotic system in August 2021.

Over the past five years, the RCS England Robotics programme has helped to secure funding to drive research into surgical data science and qualitative assessment of the introduction of RAS to the NHS. It has also appointed an RCS England and Health Education England Fellow to undertake research into the future development of robotic surgical training.

In October 2022, RSC England accredited Intuitive’s entire global education portfolio.

Intuitive will now help RSC England to review and develop the evidence base for the use of robotics and also ensure RAS training enabled improved patient outcomes.

David Marante, regional director at Intuitive UK and Ireland, said: “I’m confident that over the course of this three-year collaboration, the college and Intuitive can work together to continue demonstrating the clinical, operational and strategic value of RAS, enabling current and future generations of surgeons and care teams to continue to have access to our da Vinci RAS technology and ensure they are able to deliver the best outcomes for patients.”