The number of cancer patients who can benefit from pioneering robot-assisted surgery is set to quadruple thanks to a £1.5million grant from the Samworth Foundation, the Samworth family charity. The legacy gift was made to the Leicester Hospitals Charity in honour of local businessman and philanthropist, Sir David Samworth, who died last year aged 87, and will fund a new surgical robot at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
More than 900 patients a year will be treated at the planned Sir David Samworth Robotic Theatre. Around 300 patients a year currently receive the cutting-edge treatment at the Leicester General Hospital, primarily for kidney and prostate cancer.
A second robot will mean a greater range of people – including gynaecological patients and those with rectal, pelvic and head and neck cancers – will now be able to access the ground-breaking technology and its benefits.
Robotic surgery is minimally invasive and allows greater accuracy than traditional surgery, leading to improved patient experience, fewer complications and shorter stays in hospital.
The new robot also creates opportunities for the Trust to train surgeons in robotic surgical techniques.
Richard Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “We are hugely grateful to the Samworth Foundation for this generous grant – which will allow us to rapidly accelerate the improvement of cancer care for people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“As a major cancer surgery centre and one of the most research-active NHS Trusts in the country, we understand the very real benefits this investment will bring to local people. The grant from the Samworth Foundation will undoubtedly save lives - both through the provision of leading-edge surgical techniques and much needed research into earlier diagnosis.”
Mike Norwood, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, said: "Robotic surgery will provide huge benefits to our patients in terms of surgical precision, less pain and faster recovery. This is especially the case for patients with bowel cancer and head and neck cancers, as well as for younger patients with conditions such as Crohn's Disease and colitis.
“Being one of the largest units in the country, we aim to become a regional training centre for robotic surgery, training the surgeons of the future – which will be a great legacy in memory of the late Sir David Samworth".
Nathalie Walters from the Samworth Foundation said: “We are delighted to honour the memory of our joint founder, Sir David Samworth, with this grant. Sir David was a strong champion of Leicester and Leicestershire and these projects will benefit many cancer patients.”
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