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Robotic surgery resumes across the Trust

03 July 2020

Health Care

Surgical robots are back in action for patients Patients are now being welcomed back into surgery across mid and south Essex with the return of state-of-the-art robots.

The Da Vinci X robots at Broomfield and Southend hospitals, which are used to perform life-changing operations in specialties including urology, gastro-intestinal, and ear, nose and throat (ENT), are now back in use for the first time since March.

Southend's robot had only been in place for a matter of weeks before coronavirus hit. Consultant urologist and robotic surgeon Mohamed Abdalazeez is pleased to get the service back underway for patients and praised the theatres' team for their hard work. 

He said: "It's great to be able to get back to our regular patients again. To get here has taken a lot of teamwork and effort from everyone - the theatres' manager, our matron, staff nurses, surgical care practitioner, the robot team and our anaesthetists. It's collaborative work between all of us."

The robot in Southend is mainly used for prostate cancer operations. Mr Abdalazeez explained how some things have had to change working in the 'new normal' world of Covid.

"We used to send the patient home the next day if everything had gone well, but since Covid we try to send them home the same day. After the operation we wait for around six hours then have a discussion with the anaesthetists and the patient if we have no concerns. I'm pleased to say that so far there have been no complications."

At Broomfield, Covid meant many theatre staff were temporarily working in intensive care and Theatre 17, where the robot operates from, which became the part of the hospital's critical care unit.

Marielle Huddlestone, robotic lead nurse, explained how the robot and staff returned to normal duties after helping in the fight with Covid. 

She said: "We've restarted colorectal cancer cases, urology, adrenalectomies, and head and neck ENT cases. We're looking forward to increasing the number of cases and growing the robotic service again."