Cancer surgeons at Royal Surrey carried out nine robotically assisted radical prostatectomies in one day as part of the Trust’s commitment to reducing waiting times for cancer patients.
The nine men, all with prostate cancer, were able to undergo the procedure on the same day after a team of Trust experts developed a safe but efficient way to maximise the number of prostatectomies (surgery to remove the prostate gland) they can perform.
Five surgeons and four theatres teams worked across three operating theatres on World Cancer Day (Saturday 4 February) to treat a week’s worth of patients in a single day by using a technique known as a high intensity theatre list.
The technique saw the team focus on one type of procedure in order to safely improve efficiency and increase surgeons’ operating time, which in turn frees up vital theatre space that can then be used for other surgical activity.
Wissam Abou-Chedid, Urology Consultant, said: “In the past we have done six prostate surgeries in one day but this is the first time we’ve done nine, which is a fantastic achievement and a UK first.
“By maximising the number of operations carried out, we are reducing waiting time for our prostate cancer patients as well as freeing up theatre time for other non-emergency surgery that may have been delayed by the pandemic. This is a big priority for the Trust and helps reduce patient anxiety, improve cancer outcomes and enhance patient experience, as well as lowering the risk of complications.”
Gary Downs, 56, one of the first three patients on the day’s list, said: “The team at Royal Surrey are amazing, I can’t fault them and running such an intensive day of operations is a fantastic effort. I’m incredibly grateful and relieved to have had my operation done as quickly as possible.
“Worrying and waiting for an operation is really hard. When you find out you have something like prostate cancer, you just want to get it dealt with as soon as possible so you can move on from it.”
Royal Surrey is one of the top three Trusts in the country in terms of the number of robotic assisted radical prostatectomies carried out, as well as being a national leader in the field of robotic surgery.
The Trust carried out more than 550 pelvic surgery operations for prostate cancer and bladder cancer in the UK in 2022 and is one of the best performing in the country against nationally set targets.
Praising the organisation behind the high intensity theatre day, Matthew Perry, Consultant Urological Surgeon and Clinical Director of Urology, said: “A lot of planning went into the day, involving staff from different departments. It was a team effort with every department involved, from the anaesthetic team, to the pre-op team, coordinators and managers in theatre and our specialist nurses.
“Everyone put the time and effort in to make the day a success. All those who helped were very enthusiastic and excited.
“We had an extra team of staff so that we could reduce the turnaround times between each patient, which is how we fitted all nine operations into the list. The time it took for the actual operations was the same time as on any other day, we simply shaved time with careful deployment of staff off the changeover times between patients.”
Louise Stead, the Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “I’m extremely impressed by the energy and dynamism of the Urology Team consultants, who are consistently looking for ways to improve patient experience and reduce waiting times. This meticulously planned day shows our highly skilled surgeons and clinical teams leading the way once again. Well done to all those involved.”