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Da Vinci Surgical Training

A sixth surgeon has been trained to use the Da Vinci robotic system for prostate cancer treatment. Prostate Cymru in partnership with Swansea Prostate Cancer Research Fund has funded the training of Mr Gokul KandaSwamy to use the equipment for minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery. Mr KandaSwamy will be joining Mr Neil Fenn and his team to operate on patients from Swansea and West Wales. The team has treated 131 patients to date from areas covered by the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda health boards.

Operation Robot, the campaign to bring robotic surgery to Wales, was launched in 2012. The campaign aimed to highlight the geographic inequality between England and Wales for prostate cancer treatment and to lobby the government to offer this innovative type of surgery to Welsh patients. At the time of the campaign, Wales did not have a robot whilst England had over 40.

Following a petition and representations from Prostate Cymru, the Welsh Government agreed to fund the £2.5 million Da Vinci robot through their Health Technology fund and with assistance from Cardiff University. Prostate Cymru has funded the training of the surgeons using the equipment.

The robotic system was installed in the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff in 2014 and hundreds of patients have already been treated using the robot, which dramatically reduces recovery time and is much less invasive for the patient.

Andy Thomas, Chairman of Prostate Cymru, said “I would like to congratulate all the consultants who’ve successfully converted (with the help of Prostate Cymru) from open or laparoscopic prostatectomy to Da Vinci prostatectomy. This has taken tremendous time, effort and dedication on their part. Welsh men with early prostate cancer can now be assured that they can experience world class surgery at the Da Vinci centre at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.”

Gokul KandaSwamy, Consultant Urologist, said “The Robotic programme is well established now in Wales and the role of charities like Prostate Cymru cannot be underestimated. Welsh patients with prostate cancer now have access to the latest generation of the Da Vinci Robot.

I was very fortunate to have formal fellowship training in Cardiff with a great team. We have very closely analysed our performance and the outcomes and to put it simply, it has been a huge success. Any success of these advanced technologies are only as good as its user and Prostate Cymru has played a very important role in providing all the necessary support in training the surgeons in the region to the highest level.

Both Prostate Cymru and Swansea Prostate Cancer Research Fund have supported me through the process to become a part of this very enthusiastic and successful group of robotic surgeons in South Wales. I am delighted to join hands with my senior colleague Mr Fenn, in not only providing the service but also to take part in activities creating more awareness, research and quality improvement projects.”

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