Milton Keynes University Hospital saves 450 bed days a year following adoption of next-generation surgical robot
The Versius Robotic Assisted Surgery programme is improving patient recovery and outcomes as well as supporting staff wellbeing at Milton Keynes University Hospital
CMR Surgical (CMR) and Milton Keynes University Hospital have today announced results from their Versius Robotic Assisted Surgery (RAS) programme, with major impacts reported on recovery timelines, patient outcomes, and staff wellbeing.
The hospital’s decision to implement an RAS programme was driven by a desire to offer a minimal-access approach to patients in order to improve outcomes and the overall patient experience, and to reduce surgery cancellations due to non-clinical reasons.
In England, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, around 1% of the eight million yearly elective operations were cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons, including a lack of ward or critical care bed availability.
At Milton Keynes Hospital this translated to around 160 patients a year having their elective operations cancelled.
By partnering with CMR on the delivery of a multi-speciality Versius RAS programme, following the first 242 procedures the hospital has saved 450 bed days a year – exceeding the anticipated saving of 175 days outlined in the original business case.
The programme includes multiple surgical specialties including gynaecology, colorectal, and general surgery, with a complex patient population including a high proportion of obese patients.
Our goal when introducing Versius into a hospital setting is to provide valuable support to surgical staff at a time when healthcare systems are facing significant health and economic challenges
The hospital saw particular success in gynaecological outcomes.
Prior to the investment, less than half of the 450 women requiring soft tissue surgery annually were offered a minimal-access approach.
Katy Philpott, associate director of operations for women and children’s health services at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “For those women who were not offered minimal-access surgery, the majority required five days in hospital and three or more months off work post surgery.
“Following the introduction of Versius, many patients are returning home in 1-2 days post surgery and experiencing a quicker return to normal activities, with the majority off work for between two to four weeks.
“Access to Versius has been a complete game changer for the women we serve, and we are now delivering far more minimally-invasive care as a result, which enables us to either reduce the cost burden of our interventions or offers further capacity to cope with demand.”
Colorectal surgery also saw improvements in minimal-access provision, with 93% of procedures now performed with Versius, far ahead of the National Bowel Cancer Audit (NBOCA) recommendation of 50%.
Jennifer Kearney, the trust’s associate director of operations, added: “We see a growing need to expand the use of Versius to scale some of the benefits we have already observed by developing the robotic programme and to offer a more-standardised surgical practice.
“If Versius was implemented across the NHS, there are big efficiency and quality gains to be made.”
Access to Versius has been a complete game changer for the women we serve, and we are now delivering far more minimally-invasive care as a result, which enables us to either reduce the cost burden of our interventions or offers further capacity to cope with demand
In addition to an improvement in patient recovery timelines, surgical specialists also reported improvements in the ergonomics and comfort of surgical teams, as well as a reduction in physical and cognitive stress.
Nidhi Singh, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, said: “I have known quite a few surgeon colleagues needing to take time off work with wrist and shoulder issues resulting from manual surgical techniques, and I believe Versius will help me to avoid these types of work-related injuries and extend my working career over time.”
Mark Slack, chief medical officer at CMR Surgical, added: “Our goal when introducing Versius into a hospital setting is to provide valuable support to surgical staff at a time when healthcare systems are facing significant health and economic challenges.
“It has been a privilege to work with Milton Keynes Hospital and we are delighted to see that Versius is helping to bring the benefits of minimally-invasive surgery to more patients and that the team see scalable benefits and value across multiple specialities.”