HULL City owner Assem Allam is donating £1.4m to buy robotic technology which will used for the first time for urological surgery at one of the region’s main cancer hospitals.
The funds will buy a ‘Da Vinci’ robotic surgical system, operated by a surgeon, which mimics the movements of the surgeon’s hand and which allows complex surgery to be done with greater accuracy and control through tiny incisions, reducing pain and blood loss.
The robot will be used initially for around 110 patients at Castle Hill Hospital, undergoing prostate removals from the Spring, but probably in future also for patients with gynaecological and colorectal cancers.
Da Vinci robots already operate in hospitals in Leeds and Sheffield, with Hull the last cancer centre to get one.
Matt Simms, Consultant Urologist for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, one of two surgeons who will use the new technology, said it was an exciting moment: “This technology is something we have wanted to introduce for our patients for some time but clearly it is very expensive and therefore we have been exploring ways in which we could raise the funds. We are all very grateful to Mr Allam and his family for such an amazing and philanthropic gesture.
He said not having the robot would have had “big implications” for Hull, as patients wanting robotic surgery could choose to go elsewhere. As well as reducing recovery time, the robot minimises serious side effects of prostate removals, erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
Dr Allam said: “I was most surprised to learn that the population of Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire did not have local access to Robotic Surgery.
“There are currently more than 40 units installed in Britain, with the majority being mainly in London and the South East of England, but none in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I am always striving for the East Riding to be the best and to support developments that will benefit the local community.”