Rosemere's £1.5m campaign to fund '˜robot cancer surgeon'

Today, Rosemere Cancer Centre, at Royal Preston Hospital, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the launch of a £1.5m appeal to ensure it will be at the forefront in fighting cancer.

Rosemere 20 Years Anniversary Appeal logo
Rosemere 20 Years Anniversary Appeal logo

One of the projects for Rosemere Cancer Foundation is to bring the very latest in robotic surgical systems to the centre.

With five octopus-like arms and fully jointed, tiny wristed instruments, the robot will allow surgeons to access difficult-to-reach parts of the body using keyhole incisions.

Only a handful of centres in the country have this revolutionary technology and the Rosemere will become the first in the North to get one.

The new robot that will be arriving at the Rosemere Cancer Centre with its octopus-like arms

Sue Thompson, chief officer of Rosemere, said: “We are focusing our efforts on the 20 Years Anniversary Appeal and believe the projects the appeal is seeking to fund will help keep the centre at the forefront of cancer treatment.”

The appeal wants the Rosemere Cancer Centre to be the first place in the North of England to take delivery of the latest in advanced robotic surgical systems to treat patients with bowel, gastrointestinal and gynaecological cancers.

The robot system features five arms at the end of which are fully jointed, tiny wristed instruments that unlike a human hand can bend and rotate 360 degrees. This will allow surgeons to undertake complex procedures using keyhole incisions rather than open surgery.

The robot will be controlled by a surgeon from a console linked to a magnified 3D high definition vision system and be suspended above patients on the operating table.

The Rosemere Cancer Centre today

Nick Wood, a surgeon at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which manages the Rosemere Cancer Centre, explains: “The robot will give us a chance to provide the very best service possible to our patients and allow us to push the boundaries in the development of better treatment techniques for the future.”

Negotiations with the system’s manufacturer – California-based Intuitive Surgical Inc – have already secured an agreement for the equipment to be shipped to Preston in mid March with payment to follow in return for the centre becoming a European training hub for the advancement of robotic surgery.

The appeal is also seeking to fund a revolutionary research facility with a specialist cancer trials manager to allow more Rosemere Cancer Centre patients to participate in clinical trials.

In addition, the appeal is raising money to redevelop Rosemere Cancer Centre’s in-patient Ribblesdale Ward.

Sue Thompson and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation Team

This is set to be transformed from a traditional ward into a modern, home-from-home with places to socialise, make snacks and drinks plus private bays that will provide quiet and restful areas not only for patients but also, for relatives wishing to stay.

Sue Thompson, chief officer of Rosemere Cancer Foundation, says: “Rosemere Cancer Centre and Rosemere Cancer Foundation are all about ensuring people in Lancashire and South Cumbria have access to world class cancer treatments and services if they need them as near to home as possible, whether that’s here at Rosemere Cancer Centre or through our work via their local hospital.

“We fund equipment, research and training that falls outside the remit of what the NHS is able to fund.

“It’s reassuring to know, whether we need it or not, that in Rosemere Cancer Centre we now have a facility that is held in such repute on our own doorstep.

The new robot that will be arriving at the Rosemere Cancer Centre with its octopus-like arms

“For this reason, we are hoping people throughout the region will support us in raising the funds we need.

“It’s my privilege to be based within Rosemere Cancer Centre and to have seen it grow over the last 20 years into the specialist treatment centre it is today – a centre that is so important in the lives of so many for the work it does.

“In supporting that work, I have seen the centre evolve as the science of cancer treatment has evolved but things that have never changed are the compassion, kindness and when appropriate, the warm humour, involved in the delivery of treatment here.

“This is why so many former patients and patients’ families and friends become its champions and work alongside my fundraising team to support appeals such as the 20 Years Anniversary Appeal.

“They share our goal of ensuring Lancashire and South Cumbria has a cancer treatment centre world class in its provision of services and through this birthday wish list of cutting edge appeal projects, that’s what the future holds.”

The Rosemere Cancer Centre today
Sue Thompson and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation Team