Wales has become the first country in the world to introduce a national surgical robotics programme.
NHS Wales has awarded a multi-year contract to Cambridge firm CMR Surgical to implement its Versius Surgical Robotic System.
Under the terms of the contract, four Versius systems will initially be installed across a number of hospitals in Wales, with over 1,300 patients expected to benefit from the programme annually.
Versius will be used to perform procedures across Colorectal, Upper Gastrointestinal, Urological, and Gynaecology specialities. The service will be provided initially at Betsi Cadwaladr and Cardiff and Vale Health Boards, with further expansions to other health boards in the future.
CMR Surgical, which featured on our MedTech 50 innovation ranking last year, was appointed as the industry partner following a competitive procurement process, aligned to the National Value-Based Health Care Programme and with the goal of transforming the system of care throughout Wales.
The decision is the result of an extensive process in which CMR was assessed on its ability to meet performance, quality, and pricing criteria. Versius will allow surgeons to perform complex keyhole operations precisely and accurately.
“This is a landmark move by NHS Wales and one that will bring many benefits to surgeons and patients providing them access to life changing innovation. We are proud to be part of this programme and believe countries around the world will be looking towards Wales as a potential model for implementation of surgical robotics using advanced technology,” said Dr Mark Slack, chief medical officer of CMR Surgical.
“We would like to thank NHS Wales for choosing us as a partner in this exciting robotics programme to address overwhelming needs for improved surgical care and outcomes for cancer patients in Wales.”
In partnership with Welsh Health Boards, CMR will help develop a robotic network in Wales by supporting the implementation of Versius systems, delivering training and education countrywide, supporting research, and providing the CMR global clinical registry to understand the development of patient outcomes and enable patient safety.
Eluned Morgan, Health and Social Services Minister for Wales, added: “The All-Wales Robotic Assisted Surgery Network is an ambitious and important programme helping to improve outcomes for patients and the NHS in Wales.
“It will put Wales at the forefront of international research for the use of robotic surgical techniques. This pioneering service will also encourage specialist staff to come to Wales to train and practice.”