A decade of robotic success at Gloucestershire Hospitals

7 Mar 2024, 9 a.m.

Gloucestershire Hospitals reaches a significant milestone this year as it celebrates a decade of groundbreaking advancements in the field of robotic urological surgery, which has helped revolutionise the landscape of healthcare. Over the past 10 years, the Trust has established itself as a pioneering hub for robotic-assisted surgeries.

Consultant Surgeon and Urology Clinical Lead Jeremy Nettleton
Urology Robots
Urology Consultants at work
Urology Robots

A significant accomplishment of the robotic approach is in performing complex cancer surgeries. Procedures such as prostate and bladder removal and reconstruction, as well as kidney removal and reconstruction, have seen unprecedented success with the implementation of state-of-the-art robotic technologies.

Patient, David Fielder had this to say about his experience: “I have got to 78 without ever being hospitalised so being told I had to part company with my left kidney did not fill me with joy and I had no real idea of what to expect! The service I have just experienced is excellent, staffed by highly skilled people who really care at all levels.

“Mr Nettleton, the surgeon, was and is very approachable in discussing what needed to be done. The robotic procedure, I was told, went well, just 4 small cuts in my tummy and one larger one down lower to extract the offending beast. My recovery, from what I was told was a major operation, I think is remarkable. I was in the hospital for one night and discharged about midday on the second day. Now 6 weeks later wounds all healed, back driving, can walk into Cirencester from my home which is about a mile each way and generally enjoying life.“

The Trust is recognised as an outstanding training centre in the West of England, where surgeons undergo training to become proficient in using dual-control robots. These innovative systems allow two surgeons to collaborate seamlessly during surgery. This not only enhances the overall surgical experience but also provides better outcomes for patients.

“Robotic surgery not only enables patients to return to their normal lives more quickly but also has fewer negative impacts, for example on incontinence and erectile function, which we know are so important to people’s confidence and wellbeing.”

Jeremy Nettleton, Consultant Surgeon and Urology Clinical Lead

The Urology service currently uses state-of-the-art equipment including two latest generation Da Vinci robotic systems (X and Xi dual console), a new urological laser, state-of-the-art camera systems and electrosurgery, all procured between 2021 and 2023. Since surgeons at Gloucestershire Hospitals started using the Da Vinci robots in 2014, these machines have collectively treated over 2,500 patients and this milestone emphasises not only the quantity but also the quality of care provided. These innovative approaches have led to thousands of hospital bed days being saved, signalling a transformative shift in healthcare efficiency.

“I am immensely proud to celebrate a decade of groundbreaking achievements at Gloucestershire Hospitals in robotic urological surgery. Our commitment to innovation has not only transformed healthcare for local people but has also positioned us as a leader in the field. The success stories, like Mr. David Fielder's, reflect the excellence of our dedicated team and the positive impact of state-of-the-art robotic technologies on patient outcomes. As we continue to be an outstanding training centre in the West of England, we look forward to advancing surgical practices, ensuring quicker recoveries, and ultimately enhancing the well-being of our patients and surgeons alike.”

Kevin McNamara, Chief Executive

Patients are experiencing a positive shift in their healthcare journey, with shorter recovery times and minimally invasive procedures becoming the new norm. The advantages extend beyond patients, as this technology has positively impacted surgeons' well-being by eliminating the necessity for prolonged periods spent leaning over operating tables. This dual benefit marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of surgical practices.

Support our urology services

The Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity raises funds to make a real difference for our patients, their families and the staff who treat them.