In May, the RUH’s first Da Vinci surgical robot was plugged in and powered up in Theatres, all thanks to the ongoing fundraising efforts by our RUHX hospital charity’s extraordinary supporters. Its arrival ushered in a new age at the hospital, supporting more than four hundred complex surgical operations across the RUH, saving time, resources and lives in an instant.

Soon afterwards on 13th June 2023, the first ever robotics surgery at RUH Bath was carried out by Colorectal surgeon Dr Marc Bullock. The patient, Suzanne, who was back at the golf course only a week after the operation has taken some time to share her experience of this ground-breaking new equipment now available at the RUH.

Suzanne said:

“I was delighted to be told I was going to be the first patient ever to have received robotic surgery at the RUH. It meant I could have my operation a lot quicker than what was being offered via the traditional route of open surgery.

"My mother died of bowel cancer, so I was feeling very anxious before meeting with Marc who reassured me completely. He went through all the benefits of robotic surgery vs open surgery and explained to me how he would use the robot in my operation. I felt very comfortable with what was going to happen.

"I definitely felt less trauma than I would have done had this procedure been carried out the more traditional way. Obviously, I was a bit restricted in terms of movement but there wasn’t really any pain. My recovery has been excellent, I had my operation on the Tuesday morning, and I was back home by Friday evening, just three days later. I couldn’t believe it.”

Surgeon Marc Bullock told us. “In June, we successfully launched the robotics program for Colorectal and General surgery and have now completed ten cases with great success. My patients will really benefit from the precision and dexterity of robotic surgery with the DaVinci Xi. We anticipate this will translate into quicker recovery times and shorter hospital stays for patients undergoing major abdominal surgery.”

Since Suzanne’s operation, other surgical specialties followed suit in July, launching their own programs in Urology and Gynaecologic Oncology robotic surgery, extending these benefits to a far wider community of patients.

The Da Vinci surgical robot was purchased by RUHX with a majority of the funding secured. By doing this, not only are patients like Suzanne benefiting from this extraordinary advancement in technology, but the charity secured savings and benefits worth £490,000. In order to cover the remaining cost of the robot, RUHX is seeking donations from anyone who’d like to help change patients’ lives for the better – and play a part in this significant advancement in our hospital’s technology.