GRACE Support National RoboQoL Trial

GRACE pump primed the purchase of the first “Da Vinci” robot at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. As a result, since 2010, the team has been offering robotic surgery to patients primarily diagnosed with cancer or the womb or cervix as well as some other cancers and have performed over 1000 procedures, making them the UK’s most experienced team for robotic surgery in gynaecological cancer.

 A needle driver used in robotic surgery

A needle driver used in robotic surgery

The gynaeoncology department is the UK’s only epicentre for robotic training in gynaecology and both Mr Simon Butler-Manuel & Mr Anil Tailor are proctors (trainers) who train surgeons from the UK and overseas and we regularly have surgeons visiting the operating theatre to observe. The clinical team have now recruited 17 patients to the RoboQol trial. This study run from Middlesborough University Hospital and badged by the NIHR (National Institute of Health Research) is an observational study collecting data from patient feedback using questionnaires.

While the clinical team have been able to measure the success of the robotic program with evidence from reduced blood loss and length of stay, the RoboQol study is an opportunity for the service users (our patients) to voice their feelings and thoughts and offer feedback on the entire process and recovery.

The lead for the study at RSCH, Kavitha Madhuri is delighted with the level of patient participation. She said: "I am so pleased that we have been able to offer this trial to our patients and am humbled that they are able to give their time and feedback in filling out questionnaires during their post –operative recovery!"

 Robotic surgery being performed 

Robotic surgery being performed 

Some patients are a little anxious to hear that their surgery will be performed robotically however the robot is an extension of keyhole surgery and is performed by a surgeon sitting at a console and another assistant by the patient’s bedside. Following the surgery, patients are often delighted and amazed by the experience and frequently surprised that they did not have “more pain or require more painkillers” with many saying they hardly feel they have had surgery at all.  

The study is continuing to recruit and we hope the results of this study will lead to more procedures being performed robotically to the benefit of cancer patients and will lead to improved outcomes.