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Ribbon-cutting ceremony for state-of-the-art robotic surgeon “Robi” at Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Health professionals at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) are pleased to announce the successful installation of the advanced Da Vinci Surgical XI robot, affectionately known as “Robi Sheldon Alan Surgeonator” or simply “Robi.”

The purchase of this ‘cutting-edge’ technology marks a significant milestone in the hospital’s commitment to enhancing surgical care for its patients, and particularly those living with colorectal cancer.

In a special ribbon-cutting ceremony held last week, the star of the event was none other than Robi itself, demonstrating its precision by cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

The event was attended by members of the project team who have worked hard to bring the device to the hospital, Trust Chief Executive, Richard Parker OBE, and surgeons Miss Antonia Durham-Hall and Miss Victoria Proctor.

Funded with generous support from the Fred and Ann Green Legacy, the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Charity pledged £3.6 million to bring robotic surgery, along with the necessary training and resources, to the Trust. This investment underscores the continued philanthropic heritage of the Greens, turning the tragic loss of their son Alan in 1943 into an enduring legacy that has benefited countless patients since the inheritance, valued at £11.5 million, was provided to the Trust in 1998.

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting, Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive at DBTH, said: “Today marks a historic moment for our hospital and the community we serve. The introduction of Robi is not just a technological advancement but, we hope, a huge leap in the delivery of enhanced patient outcomes and recovery times. We are immensely grateful for the community’s support, our Trust Charity, and the enduring legacy of the Green family.”

Achieving minimally invasive surgery, a surgeon operates from a console, controlling robotic arms equipped with advanced instruments and a camera safely inserted inside the patient. This method offers greater precision compared to traditional laparoscopic (keyhole) or open surgery.

Miss Antonia Durham-Hall, Colorectal Consultant Surgeon and Lead Clinician for Gastrointestinal Surgery, highlighted the anticipated benefits of robotic surgery: “The precision and minimally invasive nature of robotic surgery will revolutionise the way we perform colorectal surgeries. Patients can look forward to faster recoveries, reduced hospital stays, and better overall outcomes. This is a significant leap forward in our surgical capabilities.”

Robi’s initial focus will be on colorectal cancer surgeries initially, and to-date four robotic operations have already taken place at DRI and the patients discharged home after a short hospital stay to recuperate a home.

For those interested in supporting DBTH and contributing to future healthcare innovations, please contact the Fundraising and Communications Team at 01302 644244 or via email at dbth.charity@nhs.net.

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