The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) has launched a white paper: Robotic Assisted Surgery and New Models of Surgical Care, which sets out the case for a national multi-stakeholder strategy for Robotic Assisted Surgery to support its uptake across the NHS. In this article for CSJ, the chair and vice chair of ABHI’s Robotic Assisted Surgery Group, Nick Margree and Chris Gray, explain the thinking behind the paper.
The benefits of robotic assisted surgery versus conventional surgery are well catalogued. Reduced trauma to patients that can lead to quicker recovery and better experience, fewer days spent in hospital freeing up much needed capacity including Intensive Care Units and High Dependency Units, less physical stress on surgeons, potentially extending their working life, and procedures being performed on high-risk patients or patients with complex conditions where open surgery would not be an option.
The use of robotic assisted surgery is also increasing, and it is now commonly used in areas including urology, colorectal cancer surgery, upper GI and general surgery. Of course, the technologies are very different, but the benefits of using them are broad and resonate across the NHS, and wider healthcare systems. The impact of robotic assisted surgery on operational efficiencies within hospitals will therefore continue to develop and will be an important factor to consider as the technology adoption accelerates further.
The NHS is going through a period of reform, some of it planned, some of it driven by necessity. The expected changes are in part, a response to the underlying challenge the NHS faces – ensuring healthcare remains accessible and free at the point of need – despite an ageing population, rising demands and cost pressures, and a fatigued NHS workforce facing an endemic challenge of recruitment and retention. In parallel, the NHS will, for the foreseeable future, deal with the elective surgery backlog and insulate the NHS from future shocks.
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