NHS Wales has revealed it is awarding a substantial multi-year contract to CMR Surgical (CMR), a world-leading surgical robotics company, to develop the world’s first National Robotics Assisted Surgery Programme.
The novel project will see NHS Wales implement four of CMR’s Versius® Surgical Robotic Systems across various hospitals around the country, with more than 1,300 patients expected to benefit from the programme each year.
CMR surgical was awarded the lucrative contract following a lengthy and competitive procurement process that was aligned to the National Value-Based Health Care Programme. CMR was assessed on the company’s ability to achieve performance, quality, and pricing criteria. As a result, NHS Wales is confident that Versius will enable surgeons to precisely and accurately perform complex keyhole surgery precisely and accurately.
Versius follows a diminutive, portable, modular design that can fit into virtually any operating room, which increases the likelihood of robotic minimal access surgery (MAS). The technology mimics the human arm, providing surgeons with a choice of optimised port placement with the accuracy of small fully wristed instruments.
Versius comprises 3D HD vision, easy-to-use instrument control, and an array of ergonomic working positions. Its open surgeon console reduces stress and fatigue for the user and allows for clear communication with the surgical team. Moreover, Versius captures vital data that support a surgeon’s continuous learning. Medical professionals can employ the Versius Connect app, Versius Trainer and CMR clinical registry to further their knowledge and enhance surgical care.
The world’s first national surgical robotics programme
This groundbreaking healthcare development has the potential to position Wales as a global pioneer in surgical robotics and enhance the quality of care and surgical outcomes for patients. Versius will be employed to conduct procedures across Colorectal, Upper Gastrointestinal, Urological, and Gynaecology specialities and will initially be provided at Betsi Cadwaladr and Cardiff and Vale Health Boards, expanding to other health boards in the future.
Dr Mark Slack, Chief Medical Officer of CMR Surgical, commented: “This is a landmark move by NHS Wales and one that will bring many benefits to surgeons and patients providing them access to life-changing innovation. We are proud to be part of this programme and believe countries around the world will be looking towards Wales as a potential model for the implementation of surgical robotics using advanced technology. We would like to thank NHS Wales for choosing us as a partner in this exciting robotics programme to address overwhelming needs for improved surgical care and outcomes for cancer patients in Wales.”
“The All-Wales Robotic Assisted Surgery Network is an ambitious and important programme helping to improve outcomes for patients and the NHS in Wales. It will put Wales at the forefront of international research for the use of robotic surgical techniques. This pioneering service will also encourage specialist staff to come to Wales to train and practice,” said Eluned Morgan, Health and Social Services Minister for Wales.
Jared Torkington, the Lead Clinician for the National Robotics Assisted Surgery Programme, said: “Selecting a surgical robot was a crucial step for the success of this programme. Versius will bring the benefits of advanced robotic keyhole surgery, including increased operative precision, less pain, smaller scars, and less time in hospital so patients can recover quicker. This national programme embraces the latest innovation to improve patient outcomes and lead to efficient use of surgical teams and resources, which is critical right now.”
Cari-Anne Quinn, CEO of Life Sciences Hub Wales, said: “We are delighted to support NHS Wales to accelerate innovative robotic surgery access for patients across Wales. This project with CMR is a fantastic example of how the industry can partner with NHS Wales to deliver adoption on a national scale.”