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Dorset patients to benefit from incredible gift of world-leading robotic cancer treatment

Robert Braitwaite and Tas QureshiPatients throughout Dorset are set to benefit following a huge £3.5m gift to Poole Hospital.  The donation is for the specific purchase of a state-of-the-art surgical robot system and has been given to the Trust by Robert Braithwaite CBE DL, founder of Sunseeker International.

The new da Vinci surgical robot system will enable the latest advanced keyhole surgery techniques to be used to treat a range of conditions.  The patients at Poole Hospital will be the first in the UK to benefit from this system. It will be used initially to treat patients with rectal cancer, before increasing its scope to include gynaecological, and head and neck cancers. Future plans will include the treatment of non-cancerous conditions, such as endometriosis.

Mr Tas Qureshi, consultant colorectal surgeon and lead for laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery at Poole Hospital, is one of the UK’s leading surgeons in this discipline, training surgeons from across the UK and abroad in the technique.

“This incredible gesture will directly benefit a significant number of patients every year, and allow us to provide the latest surgical treatment for cancer on a par with the best cancer centres in the world.” he said.

“The introduction of the robot will mean surgical instruments with a greater range of movement and allow easier access to areas difficult to reach with traditional key hole surgery. Coupled with the high definition, three dimensional views, the result is much greater precision during surgery and therefore better targeting and removal of cancers. Ultimately this should mean a reduction in the need for chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as a better quality of life for patients.

“As the designated cancer centre for Dorset, this development represents a natural extension of the treatments that Poole Hospital is able to offer to its patients, keeping Poole at the forefront of cutting edge technology.  We intend to ensure this platform is made available to other surgeons across the county by developing a Dorset-wide training programme that will ensure that surgeons working in our hospitals continue to be amongst the most skilled in the country.

“On behalf of the hospital, and the patients that will benefit from this donation, I would like to place on record our sincerest gratitude to Robert.”

Robert Braithwaite CBE DL, added: “Dorset has played a huge part in my life. It has been home to Sunseeker since the early 70s and many generations have worked with me to build our marine brand into the most recognisable and successful in the world. I am exceptionally proud and grateful to this hard working team and the Dorset community who have always been very supportive of our ambitions.

“Following successful treatment at Poole Hospital for an illness this year I was able to learn from my surgeon, Tas Qureshi, how advances in technology are really making treatments more successful. In particular the da Vinci robot system has been heralded as game-changing in the most sophisticated medical centres around the world.

“I understand that its versatility will be able to help many and make Poole Hospital a centre of excellence. It is a pleasure for me to be able to give back to the community where I can.”

Debbie Fleming, chief executive of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The gift of this equipment will ensure that for years to come, patients across the county with cancer and other conditions will benefit from the very best surgical techniques and latest state-of-the-art equipment.

“We’re indebted to Mr Braithwaite for this incredibly generous gift.”

The Trust took delivery of the robot earlier in October and, following a period of commissioning, will treat its first patients later this year.

Date: 27 October 2015

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