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Children’s Hospital Trust Fund buys Chelsea and Westminster UK’s first surgical robot to be used solely for surgery on children

03 May 2013

The state-of-art surgical robot, which cost over £1 million, was bought thanks to the charity’s Pluto Appeal fundraising campaign. The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund has kindly donated the robot to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which sees 85,000 babies and children from all over South East England through its doors every year.

Photo (above): Mr Simon Clarke with the da Vinci Surgical System

Photo (right): Mr Munther Haddad at the controls of the da Vinci Surgical System

The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund has purchased the UK’s first surgical robot to be used solely for surgery on babies and children.

The state-of-art surgical robot, which cost over £1 million, was bought thanks to the charity’s Pluto Appeal fundraising campaign. The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund has kindly donated the robot to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which sees 85,000 babies and children from all over South East England through its doors every year.

Babies and children at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital will benefit from having the most advanced surgical technique in the world—the da Vinci robotic system. The da Vinci robot will allow surgeons at the hospital to perform intricate surgery on babies and children with greater precision, quicker recovery times and smaller scars. Robotic surgery is much less invasive than traditional surgery and also achieves quicker patient recovery and shorter hospital stays for patients.

There are currently 300 hundred da Vinci robots in the USA and The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund hopes that by giving Chelsea and Westminster Hospital the surgical robot it will lead the way for other hospitals in the UK. The da Vinci robot will enable Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to secure its position as a leading paediatric centre, training and research hospital and to become a national and international training and teaching centre for paediatric robotic surgery.

Mr Munther Haddad, Chair of The Children's Hospital Trust Fund and Senior Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital said: “We are delighted to be bringing this cutting-edge technology to children in the South of England.  The benefits of having surgery performed using the da Vinci robot for our young patients will be immense. Buying the robot is the first step as we still need to buy additional equipment. The charity will continue to raise money—donations can be made at www.theplutoappeal.com.”

Munther Haddad continues: “Our vision is to expand our existing programme of minimally-invasive surgery in children. We are looking to establish a centre of excellence at Chelsea Children’s Hospital for minimally-invasive surgery, innovation and robotics which would provide world-class education, research and simulation training for paediatric surgeons globally.”

Tony Bell, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: “We are honoured to be the only hospital in the UK to be able to perform robotic surgery with equipment tailored to the unique health needs of babies and children. On behalf of the 85,000 children we see each year I’d like to thank The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund for their tireless fundraising work that has made this happen.”

“The robot is one of the major investments being made to our children’s service which includes the Chelsea Children’s Hospital. We look forward to providing our patients with the most advanced surgical care, which we believe will improve their results and give families a better hospital experience. We are looking to develop our training and research endeavours relating to children’s robotic surgery and hope to share our experience with clinical colleagues in the future.”

Rebecca McLoughlin of The Children's Hospital Trust Fund said: “We are really proud to be part of such an historic event for London and of the role we have played in enabling Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to become the first centre in the UK to offer robotically-assisted surgery exclusively for babies and children. We are extremely grateful to all our donors who have done so much to make this become a reality.”

Global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline supported The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund’s Pluto Appeal with a £500,000 donation in 2012. Katie Pinnock, Director of UK Corporate Contributions, said: “We are thrilled to have been able to help The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund bring the da Vinci robot to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. We are committed to supporting innovations in healthcare, particularly those using the latest scientific advances to improve the quality of care for patients.”

Jason Bradbury, (The Gadget Show), Patron for The Pluto Appeal said: “Helping to buy Pluto the Robot is the most important project I’ve ever been involved with and so I'm thrilled that it’s now become a reality and many children and babies will have a better surgical outcome as a result.”