Betsi Cadwaladr is to be the first Health Board in Wales to introduce a robotic-assisted surgery programme to their hospitals.

A national robotic-assisted surgery programme allowing surgeons to perform complex procedures with more precision and control is being introduced across Wales.

The All-Wales Robotic Assisted Surgery Network, developed by health boards, the Life Sciences Hub Wales and the Moondance Cancer Initiative, will provide less invasive surgery for thousands of cancer patients across the country.

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The surgery involves the use of highly advanced robotic surgical instruments under the control of a surgeon. It will initially be used in Wales for some Colorectal, Upper Gastrointestinal, Urological and Gynaecological cancers.

It will initially be provided in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) area, with the first patient expected to receive treatment in June. Once fully established, patients in north Wales will no longer need to travel to England.

The programme will be delivered by health boards in partnership with medical technology company, CMR Surgical.

The Leader: Health Minister Eluned Morgan announced the newsHealth Minister Eluned Morgan announced the news

The Welsh Government will support the network with funding of £4.2m over five years, alongside £13.35m provided by health boards over 10 years.

Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan said: “The All-Wales Robotic Assisted Surgery Network is an ambitious and important programme helping to improve outcomes for patients and the NHS in Wales.

“It will put Wales at the forefront of international research for the use of robotic surgical techniques. This pioneering service will also encourage specialist staff to come to Wales to train and practice.”

The Leader: Health Minister Eluned Morgan.Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

Mr Mohamed Abdulmajed, Consultant Urological and Pelvic Oncology Surgeon at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “We are certainly looking forward to becoming the first surgical discipline to use robotics to treat patients who require major cancer surgery in North Wales.

“Robotic-surgery has many advantages for patients compared to open surgery including a smaller wound, less blood loss, shorter hospital stay and earlier recovery allowing the patient to return to work sooner.

“We are confident that the provision of robotic surgery in North Wales will help to recruit and retain staff. It also gives us the opportunity to provide training for staff locally, which in turn, will increase the amount of robotic surgery we are able to offer to cancer patients across North Wales.”