NHS Supply Chain supports innovation in surgical techniques

Launch of new robotics framework provides quick procurement route for NHS trusts

The new robotics framework will make it easier for NHS organisations to procure state-of-the-art new surgical equipment

NHS Supply Chain has launched a new framework to provide a compliant purchasing route for a wide range of robotic surgical equipment for NHS hospital trusts across England.

The framework covers two areas: minimally-invasive surgery and spinal and neurological surgery.

The robotic systems within the minimally-invasive surgical setting can be used to perform prostate removal, hysterectomies, thyroid cancer removal, gastric bypass, and a variety of other surgical procedures.

Benefits of using robotics in surgery include reduced reported post-operative pain; faster recovery time; reduced risk of infection, adhesion formation and post-operative hernias; and better cosmetic results. It is also more cost effective for NHS trusts due to shorter stays and the approach provides a safer working position for the surgeon, who controls the movements of multiple robotic arms from a console.

Chris Holmes, director of NHS Supply Chain, said: “The framework is an exciting new development as it encourages the innovative use of technology in surgery in the NHS, which has benefits for both patients and hospitals. It also gives trusts more choice of suppliers in a growing market.”

We’re delighted to launch the new robotics framework to our NHS customers as, for the first time, it gives a compliant route to market for robots used in surgical procedures, saving the NHS precious time and resource

Antonia Marks, NHS Supply Chain’s large diagnostic capital equipment procurement director, added: “We’re delighted to launch the new robotics framework to our NHS customers as, for the first time, it gives a compliant route to market for robots used in surgical procedures, saving the NHS precious time and resource. It also provides a wide range of such products at competitive prices, and the ability to aggregate spend and maximise savings opportunities for NHS trusts.”

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has regularly used robotics in surgery, with the clinical team, led by Professor Naeem Soomro, a consultant urologist and head of robotic surgery, working in partnership with its procurement team.

Owen O’Reilly, procurement manager, said: “Robotics in surgery has enabled our trust to adopt robotic surgery widely across no less than eight surgical specialities including colorectal surgery, urology, gynaecology, thoracic, head and neck, hepatobiliary, upper gastrointestinal and knee arthroplasty.

“The use of robots has meant more patients receiving minimally-invasive surgery, resulting in patients getting the best surgical care with reduced lengths of stay in hospital, cutting complications and the number of re-admissions.

The use of robots has meant more patients receiving minimally-invasive surgery, resulting in patients getting the best surgical care with reduced lengths of stay in hospital, cutting complications and the number of re-admissions

“It has also led to overall cost savings and another benefit is it encourages our trust to focus on training future surgical workforce teams who are competent and confident in delivery of robotic surgery across multiple specialities.”

The Robotic Medical Equipment, Associated Accessories and Consumables Framework runs for two years, with the option to extend for up to a further two years.

It includes seven specialist UK, US and Germany-based suppliers which manufacture bespoke robots.

Brainlab, Globus Medical UK, and Medtronic are approved for supplying robots for use in spinal and neurological surgery; while CMR Surgical, Siemens Healthcare, SRA Developments, and Intuitive Surgical produce robots for minimally-invasive surgery.

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