A state-of-the-art robot is being used by consultants to perform key hole surgery operations for patients.
The Da Vinci robot is controlled by the surgeon, and translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the body.
Guided by the surgeon, the robot provides a greater degree of accuracy and precision, and is much less tiring for the surgeon both physically and mentally.
The robot, which is based at the Conquest’s sister hospital, Eastbourne DGH, will initially be used for patients with prostate cancer requiring major surgery.
It has been provided by the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital at a cost of just £1 million on a lease-purchase agreement with CHG-Meridian.
The machinery would usually have cost in excess of £2 million, but the Friends struck a deal and now a major fundraising campaign to purchase the robot begins in earnest.
Steve Garnett, consultant urologist, said: “The urology department is very excited by this exceptional donation from the Friends.
“This brings cutting-edge surgical technology to the DGH and is a fantastic development for patients from Eastbourne and beyond.
“Starting with prostate cancer, the robot will enable more precise keyhole surgery with better outcomes for patients. It will allow shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery and better cancer outcomes.
“This is an amazingly generous donation by the Friends and a real vote of confidence in the future of the DGH.”
Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne’s DGH, said: “On behalf of the trust I would like to thank the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital for their tremendous generosity which is fantastic news for local patients and the hospital.”
Friends chairman Peter Nash said: “This was too good an opportunity to miss.
“While this is probably the most daunting and challenging task undertaken by the charity the benefits will be widely felt.
“It is exceedingly good news for further patients who will benefit from minimally invasive surgery with less pain and quicker recovery times. This is a major step in creating a Centre of Excellence in Eastbourne for such procedures and demonstrates the future of Eastbourne DGH as an important hospital.
“The community has been very generous in supporting Friends’ projects in the past and I hope they will continue to so we can complete the purchase in the shortest time possible.”
The robot will be used to operate on patients from 1066 Country and across Sussex.