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Realising the full potential of minimal access surgery

08 Feb 2018

Mark Slack, Consultant Gynaecologist and Urogynaecologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Mark SlackWe are on the edge of a healthcare revolution. Technological developments are beginning to converge that will provide innumerable benefits to patient and surgeon alike. The Royal College of Surgeons has set up an independent commission to explore this very area and imagine the future of surgery. From innovative use of big data to personalisation of care, the surgery of the future will look very different to the present day.

A key field of innovation is minimal access surgery (MAS). Patients across the UK currently get great care, but we have yet to achieve the full potential offered by minimal access surgery.

Why does MAS matter? Currently only 30-40% of surgical procedures within the UK are conducted laparoscopically. This is despite growing evidence that MAS can reduce complications, reduce the length of hospital admissions and accelerate a patient’s return to normal life. As the technology available to us becomes more complex, integrated and consistently beneficial to surgical care, we need to find better ways of bringing MAS to patients.

Cost is one primary obstacle to the greater MAS uptake, including issues around difficulty in training programmes further limiting the availability of MAS to UK patients. Robotic systems will overcome many of the technical difficulties of MAS, allowing increased uptake of minimal access surgery and bringing benefit to millions of patients worldwide. Health systems across the globe are under increasing financial pressure, but the issue of pricing affecting technological developments is particularly acute within the National Health Service. Basic cost-benefit analyses are continuing to prevent patients accessing the latest technological innovations.

These topics will be debated with leaders in the field as we explore Unlocking the potential of minimal access surgery at the Cambridge Medical Robotics event on the 20th March 2018. This surgical event at the Francis Crick Institute will see an expert panel debate how we can increase the uptake of minimal access surgery and examine the barriers and opportunities to adoption of the latest innovations in the NHS. We are pleased to announce that the panel will consist of:  

  • Amjad Parvaiz (Professor of Surgery at Poole General Hospital & Champalimaud Foundation)
  • Prokar Dasgupta (Professor of Robotic Surgery & Urological Innovation, King's College London)
  • Thomas Ind (Consultant Gynaecological Surgeon, The Royal Marsden & St George’s Hospital)
  • Carolynne Vaizey (Consultant Surgeon and Chairman of Surgery, St Mark’s Hospital).

Hosted by Lawrence McGinty (former science and medical editor for ITV News), the event will be held between 18:00-21:00 on Tuesday 20th March 2018 and is free to attend. Please register your interest to attend here. It is sure to be a lively discussion on one of the biggest topics in the future of surgery.


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