Tag Archives: hospital

Secret NHS cost-cutting drive to reduce hospital referrals revealed

GPs are being urged to get backing from a panel of other doctors in order to refer patients to hospital as part of a secret cost-cutting drive, it has been reported.

A leaked NHS England memo tells health trusts to review referrals weekly by September in a bid to cut numbers by about 30%, according to Pulse magazine.

Pulse, a specialist publication for doctors, said the leaked document promised “significant additional funding” for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) who established the schemes this year.

The magazine said individual GPs would still be responsible for making the final decision over the referral process and the peer review would represent good practice to ensure that “all options are explored and that patients are seen and treated in the right place, at the right time and as quickly as possible”.

An NHS England spokesman said: “Clinical peer reviews are a simple way for GPs to support each other and help patients get the best care, from the right person, at the right time without having to make unnecessary trips to hospital.

“More than half of CCGs have already implemented some sort of peer review system, with Luton seeing an 8% drop in hospital referrals, and the latest NHS England guidance will help ensure best practice is shared to remaining local commissioners.”

The referrals process has attracted criticism before. It was revealed in January that NHS bodies were paying millions of pounds to private firms that blocked patients from being sent to hospital by family doctors.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) investigation sent freedom of information requests to all 211 CCGs in England. Of 184 that responded, 72 (39%) said they commissioned some form of referral management scheme to help manage outpatient demand at their local hospitals.

Almost a third (32%) of the schemes were provided by private companies, while a further 29% were provided in-house and 11% by local NHS trusts.

Sixty-nine percent of CCGs with schemes gave details of operating costs. These CCGs combined had spent at least £57m on schemes since April 2013, the investigation found.

A survey published last year also found almost one in four cancer patients needed to see their GP at least three times before getting referred to hospital.

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2015, which examined the experiences of more than 71,000 cancer patients, found that 24% of patients saw a family doctor about the health problem caused by cancer at least three times before being referred to hospital.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures – including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery – in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

Although surgical robots already exist, the new creation is much easier to use, takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics.

“Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive – not only do they cost £2m each to buy but every procedure costs an extra £3,000 using the robot – and they are very large. Many hospitals have to use the operating theatre around the robot. Their size can also make them difficult for the surgical team to use.

“They are also poorly utilised; they are only really used for pelvic surgery, and can’t be easily adapted to other types of surgery. In some hospitals they are only being used once every other day.”

For robots to revolutionise surgery, he said, they need to be versatile, easy to use and small so that surgical staff can move them around the operating room or between operating theatres, or pack them away when they are not being used. “Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery,” Frost said.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

“When science wants to solve a problem, it often turns to nature,” said Luke Hares, chief technology officer at CMR. “We took our inspiration from the human arm, the greatest surgical tool in history.”

The creators looked at the joints within the human arm, he said, in particular the wrist, mapping how they performed a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in Versius.

“Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach,” Hares said.

To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius’s creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move. “The other great benefit is that the robot doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Hares.

The robot will be launched next spring and, once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.

CMR said it was already working with a number of NHS and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $ 4bn a year but this is expected to grow to $ 20bn by 2024.