22 March 2023

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and CMR Surgical have announced a new strategic partnership, which will see the installation of a cutting-edge surgical robot in the hospital’s thoracic operating theatres. 

Versius is the latest robotic technology, which mimics the human arm joints and has up to four times more rotation than the human wrist. 

It will allow the surgical team at Royal Papworth to perform even more minimally invasive surgery, improving outcomes and recovery times for patients and reducing their length of stay in hospital. 

Smaller than previous surgical robots, Versius also has a portable design, meaning it can be moved between different theatres and potentially used for different specialties, such as transplantation.

The use of the Versius robot in thoracic surgery will represent a UK first.

“Our vision is to provide tomorrow’s treatment to today’s patients, and purchasing this Versius robot does just that, representing a significant investment in patient care,” said Tim Glenn, Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Royal Papworth Hospital.

“We are delighted to be working with our Cambridge neighbours at CMR Surgical, helping to provide the highest quality of care to patients that we serve." 

Three people stood in the atrium at Royal Papworth Hospital next to the surgical robot

Chief Executive, Eilish Midlane (left), Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, Tim Glenn (centre) and Mr Adam Peryt, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Thoracic Surgery (right) with the Versius surgical robot

Mr Adam Peryt, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Thoracic Surgery at Royal Papworth Hospital, added: “Our patients from across the East of England and beyond who need lung surgery in the future will benefit from this collaboration.

“It also benefits our operating theatre staff, who will be trained on cutting-edge technology to drive forward outcomes and recovery times for our patients. 

“I am very excited to begin using this robot to enhance the world-class outcomes and care that we already provides to its patients.” 

A person in a blue surgical gown and theatre hat stands next to the new surgical robot.

Mr Adam Peryt stands next to the surgical robot

Mark Slack, Chief Medical Officer at CMR Surgical, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with the world-class surgeons and surgical teams at Royal Papworth as the first to use Versius in thoracic surgery in the UK. 

“Versius was designed to make the benefits of minimal access surgery available to more patients around the world, and we’re thrilled that thoracic patients in the UK will now be able to access to this type of treatment. 

“Versius is well-suited to thoracic surgery as it allows optimal access through the rib cage, and the small fully-wristed instruments can work precisely in the thoracic cavity. 

“We look forward to working with Royal Papworth on bringing the benefits of this technology to as many patients as possible.”

Nicci Briggs, Chief Finance Officer for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, said: “Providing this incredible piece of technology is the result of local providers working together with the key focus on innovation, which will improve the experience and care for local people. 

“Not only does this support the local NHS’ digital agenda, but it also supports the ICS’ vision of working together to improve the health and wellbeing of our local people throughout their lives.”

Operated by surgeons and the rest of the surgical team, staff at Royal Papworth will now undergo a comprehensive training programme on the system, including in-person training, remote telementoring and using virtual reality technology.

14 people stood in surgical scrubs next to the surgical robot in a surgical theatre.

The theatre teams at Royal Papworth who will be using the Versius robot from spring 2023

The first operations using the Versius robot are due to take place in spring 2023.