“Robot surgeon” gets big welcome at DGH

Eastbourne DGH, District General Hospital. July 19th 2013 E30008P ENGSUS00120130719130000
Eastbourne DGH, District General Hospital. July 19th 2013 E30008P ENGSUS00120130719130000

The arrival of a new state-of-the-art Da Vinci robot which can carry out life saving key hole surgery at Eastbourne’s DGH has been welcomed by surgeons and hospital bosses.

The robot, which will take laparoscopic, also known as key hole, surgery to most advanced levels possible, has been provided by the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital and a major fundraising campaign to help pay for it begins in earnest now.

The Friends have secured the machinery at a cost of just over £1million on a lease-purchase scheme with CHG-Meridian and the first operation is likely to be in the spring next year.

Its principal use will be for patients with prostate cancer requiring major surgery, but patients with other pelvic and colorectal cancers may also be helped in the future. Guided by the surgeon, the “robot” provides a greater degree of accuracy and precision and at the same time is much less tiring for the surgeon – both physically and mentally.

The news of the arrival has been welcomed particularly as experts say it is a real vote of confidence in the often troubled DGH.

Consultant urologist Steve Garnett said, “The urology department is very excited by this exceptional donation from the Friends. This brings cutting-edge surgical technology to the DGH and is a fantastic development for patients from Eastbourne and beyond. Starting with prostate cancer surgery the robot will enable more precise keyhole surgery with better outcomes for patients.

“It will allow shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery and better cancer outcomes. This puts Eastbourne DGH among the top hospitals in the UK.

“This is an amazingly generous donation by the Friends and a real vote of confidence in the future of the DGH.”

Darren Grayson, chief executive of the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said, “On behalf of the trust I would like thank the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital for their tremendous generosity which is fantastic news for local patients and the hospital.”

Friends chairman Peter Nash said the machinery would usually cost in excess of £2 million and would have taken several years to raise the funds, but the fundraisers struck a deal because they felt it was too long to wait.

“This was too good an opportunity to miss,” said Mr Nash.

“While this is probably the most daunting and challenging task undertaken by the charity, the benefits will be widely felt.

“It is exceedingly good news for future patients who will benefit from minimally invasive surgery with less pain and quicker recovery times. This is a major step in creating a Centre of Excellence in Eastbourne for such procedures and demonstrates the future of EDGH as an important hospital.

“The community has been very generous in supporting Friends’ projects in the past and I hope they will continue to so we can complete the purchase in the shortest time possible.”