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Robot targets new cancers

A new £3.5million surgical robot has begun operating on patients with gynaecological cancer in Dorset.

Poole Hospital is the only hospital in the country, and one of only a handful in Europe, using the da Vinci robot system for this type of cancer treatment. The system, operated by surgeons, links the robot with a state-of-the-art operating table to allow surgeons to carry out complex operations with more ease and precision.

Sylvia Huntley, 78, a great grandmother from Hamworthy, was the first patient to be treated with the robotic system for this procedure in Dorset. She had a hysterectomy on March 1 after cancer was detected.

Sylvia Huntley and Mr Jonathan Lippiatt

She said the machine was a ‘life saver’ for patients like her.

“I was amazed, and a bit scared, when I heard that I’d be the first person to have this type of operation by robot” she said.

“Everything went extremely smoothly and my recovery is going well. I’m now looking forward to going home to my family - they think I’m a bit of a celebrity now.

“The staff at Poole Hospital have been brilliant and I’d say to other patients ‘don’t be afraid, you’re in good hands’.”

The da Vinci surgical robot system enables the latest advanced keyhole surgery techniques to be used to treat a range of conditions.

Two days after having the operation, she says she was ready to get 'up and out' - traditional gynaecological surgery would have meant a 4-5 day hospital stay, on average, with significantly more pain.

Mr Jonathan Lippiatt, consultant gynaecological surgeon, said the robot system brings real benefits to patients, and to surgical teams.

da Vinci Xi 2

“It's fantastic to be able to use this very advanced technology to improve the treatment of women with gynaecological cancers," he said. 

"Currently this surgery is performed in very long challenging procedures that require many days in hospital to recover from.

"The robot allows the procedure to be performed both quicker and more accurately.“

The robot was funded by an incredible £3.5million gift from local businessman Robert Braithwaite CBE DL, founder of Sunseeker International. Sylvia was full of praise for Mr Braithwaite's incredible gesture.

“I’d especially like to thank Mr Braithwaite," she said. "You’ve saved my life and I’ll be eternally grateful for your generosity.”

As well as gynaecological cancer the robot is being used to treat patients with rectal cancer, while future plans include the treatment of head and neck cancers.


Notes to editors

About Poole Hospital and the Dorset Cancer Centre:

Poole Hospital is the home to the Dorset Cancer Centre and is the major specialist cancer treatment centre for adults in the county. The centre provides a wide range of treatments including radiotherapy and chemotherapy for both common and rare cancers.

The latest National Cancer Patient Experience Survey put Poole Hospital in the top 20 per cent of trusts in the country for the overall standard of care, for the third consecutive year.


About the da Vinci Xi robot system:

For more information contact:

Richard Moremon, head of communications and fundraising, Poole Hospital

Tel: 01202 442408

Mobile: 07917 172428



Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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