4 minutes Union Digital

Robotic introduction as Prostate Scotland Appeal hits fundraising goal

Treatment options and opportunities for Scottish prostate cancer patients improved today with the unveiling of pioneering robotic surgery at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.  Inaugurated by Health Secretary Shona Robison MSP, the technology will assist surgeons treating prostate cancer patients across the south and east of Scotland.

Jointly funded by Prostate Scotland, the Scottish Government and health boards from the SCAN (South East Scotland Cancer Network) regional network, the robotic service will treat around 180 men a year.

Shona Robison MSP said: “Robotically-assisted prostate cancer surgery is a vitally important service for men as it has been shown to shorten the length of stay and period needed to recover following treatment. This enables men to go back to life as normal as soon as possible.”

The £1.4m da Vinci SI Surgical System, operated by surgeons, has already helped to save the lives of 50 men with prostate cancer since its introduction in July at the Western General  Hospital this year.

“The introduction of the service will ensure that men undergoing surgery for prostate cancer benefit from the latest technological advances” said Professor Alan McNeill, Consultant Urological Surgeon and a trustee of Prostate Scotland.  “It means patients can go back to the ward without the need for drips or morphine. They’re able to eat and drink the same evening and most can get up the next day and shower themselves. In general, patients are discharged from hospital within a couple of days and return to a fully active life within four weeks. By training a team of surgeons to use the robotic system we will be able to offer the benefits of minimal access surgery to more men within a shorter timeframe.”

Robert Wilson, Chair, Prostate Scotland, said: “This is a significant step forward in treatment options. Our Blue Horizon Robot Appeal has raised £2.8m to support robotically-assisted prostate cancer surgery – thanks to all our supporters and donors. With our partners the Scottish Government and the health boards we have enabled men in Scotland to have access to the most up-to-date surgery for prostate cancer.”

Significant contributions have come from the Scottish Government, The Robertson Trust, the Barcapel Trust, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Sir Tom Farmer Foundation,  Scottish Rotary Clubs, and from private donations by members of the public.

Bruce Loughlin (60), from Edinburgh, was one of the first patients treated with the new equipment. Having worked as a Police Constable in Edinburgh for around 40 years, the diagnosis of prostate cancer hit him hard. Bruce was one of the first patients to undergo this ground-breaking treatment at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital. Professor McNeill operated weeks after his diagnosis. The surgery lasted only a matter of hours, he was in hospital for two days, and his quick recovery saw him back at work within three months. He has been delighted with the outcome of his surgery and the speed of his recovery.

Brian Houston, Chair, NHS Lothian, said: “Today is a very special day for men with prostate cancer in the south east of Scotland, as it heralds the launch of this innovative new surgical service. This service allows us to continue to deliver state-of-the-art cancer surgery for men with prostate cancer and ensures that the Western General Hospital remains at the forefront of developments in cancer surgery across Scotland”.

Scotland now has three robotic surgery systems for the treatment of prostate issues – the others are in Glasgow and Aberdeen.  Prostate Scotland’s Blue Horizon Robot Appeal has provided funding contributions towards the programmes in the east and west of Scotland.