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One year on – and over 500 patients have benefitted from YOUR donations to a £1.5 million appeal to buy a new surgical robot for Addenbrooke’s

A year after our amazing ACT supporters raised a staggering £1.5 million to buy a new surgical robot for Addenbrooke’s we can reveal just how much impact the robot has had across a wide range of specialities. 

Addenbrooke’s three surgical robots have helped specialists carry out nearly 540 lifesaving or life-altering operations in the last 12 months. 

Importantly, the robots enabled patients to recover faster from surgery, and allowed them to go home in hours or days – rather than weeks. 

They have helped with a wide range of conditions, cut waiting lists and fuelled ambitions for a fourth robot, which would make Addenbrooke’s one of the leading surgical centres in the UK. 

The success was outlined today (5 July) – a year to the day after the Trust’s second robot was unveiled following a £1.5m fundraising campaign by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT).  

ACT CEO, Shelly Thake, said: “It is important that all those who worked so hard to raise so much money are aware of just how impactful the robots have been for patients over the last 12 months. Once again, we want to thank them for their incredible support, this would not have been possible without them.” 

The da Vinci Xi dual console surgical system has revolutionised patient care and surgical training across six specialties – urology, gynae-oncology, gynaecology, colorectal, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and HPB (Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary – diseases of the liver, pancreas and biliary tree). 

Chair of CUH Robotic Surgery Steering Group (RUG), Mr Siong-Seng Liau, said: “It has been an incredible 12 months during which we have treated hundreds of patients for a multitude of different conditions using techniques that often allow them to go home more quickly, freeing up beds for other patients who urgently need them. 

“We are looking forward to the future with great confidence and, although it may be some way off, have ambitions to acquire a fourth robot and become the leading robotic surgical centre in the UK.” 

Consultant Colorectal and Robotic Surgeon, Dr Michael Powar, said: “The robotic platform that ACT supporters fundraised for offers enhanced precision, improved visualisation and greater dexterity when we perform surgery. We are seeing this translate to better patient outcomes with more patients having less invasive procedures, reduced pain and quicker recovery after surgery.” 

The unveiling at Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre was memorable as the robot cut its own ribbon in front of guests, coinciding with a host of other celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS. 

In addition to the £1.5 million raised by ACT supporters, we were able to use a legacy that had been left to the charity to purchase a dual console for the da Vinci Xi dual surgical system, allowing surgical trainees to gain hands-on experience of robotic-assisted surgery alongside an experienced surgeon. The legacy brought the total raised by ACT supporters overall to £2,022,270. We would like to thank those who generously supported the robot appeal over the last two years, in particular the Mark Benevolent Fund and the ALBORADA Trust. 

Our fund-raising campaign was so successful it enabled the hospital to lease a third CMR Surgical Versius robot, allowing surgical teams to add further upper gastrointestinal, benign gynaecological and colorectal specialities to the service. 

The two systems compliment Addenbrooke’s first robot, a Da Vinci Si, which was introduced over a decade ago to treat kidney, bladder, and prostate patients and was later upgraded to a Da Vinci Xi. 

The appeal ran over two years with support from the Cambridge Independent and many groups and individuals, including Addenbrooke’s surgeon, Atanu Pal, who took part in the virtual London Marathon in 2021, running a route that spelled out the word ROBOT. 
The Cambridgeshire Vintage Tractor Club also rallied more than 100 tractors to drive through South Cambridgeshire villages, and Frances Dewhurst challenged herself to walk up her stairs ten times a day for 100 days, in memory of her late sisters, Hilary and Charlotte.  

To find out more about fundraising for ACT, click here.