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What my patients have said ...

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness during my recent hysterectomy... as you know I have had several gynaecological operations and I can honestly say that, although this operation was by far the most serious one, it was the least upsetting, both physically and psychologically. This was mainly due to your expertise in the operating theatre. It took a great deal of time and trouble to ensure that there would be minimal scarring and bruising so that my postoperative recovery would be shortened. However I was also impressed by the time you spent to listen to patients and explain the procedures. All too often patients feel a passive partner in their surgery which is unhelpful psychologically but you ensured that I was kept informed at all times. Thank you.... I would also like to take this opportunity to pass on my thanks to your surgical team and your secretary. Everyone with whom I came into contact was extremely helpful and considerate which was very much appreciated.... I hope you will pass on my best wishes to all your staff. You undoubtedly have built a good team and I wish them and yourself all the best for the future. I will have no hesitation in recommending your skills to any friend who might need a gynaecologist.

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One of the main reasons for the slow uptake of robotic surgery in the UK is the enormous cost of acquiring the da Vinci Robot, which currently stands at about £1.7 million. Furthermore, there are annual servicing costs of £100,000 per year. Additionally, for each surgical case, the costs for the disposable instruments used are high.

Very few private hospitals in the UK have acquired the da Vinci Robot. Hence, robotic surgery is mostly offered privately where the NHS facility has a private wing or an adjacent private hospital. Patients are therefore admitted into the private wing or hospital and operated on in an NHS theatre facility rented out to the private hospital during times when it is not being used on NHS patients.

This is currently the arrangement which I use at Royal Surrey County NHS Foundation Trust.  The robot is owned by the NHS Trust, but time is made available for private patients.

If you would like to have your private gynaecological surgery done robotically, there are certain important considerations related to funding.  Currently robotic surgery is not routinely authorised by all Private Medical Insurers.

Therefore, in summary, if you are planning to have a robotic procedure privately:

  • Check with your insurer that they fund the use of a robot for your surgical procedure.
  • If you are insured with someone who does not approve robotic procedures, you could ask them whether they would allow you to have a robotic procedure funded at the conventional laparoscopy rates, and you can then fund the ‘robot surcharge’ that arises from the additional costs to the NHS hospital for using the robot and the surgeon and anaesthetists additional skills and time in theatre.
  • If you are insured with someone who approves robotic procedures but only at conventional laparoscopy rates, then you could fund the extra surcharge as above.
  • If you are not insured at all but would like a private robotic hysterectomy then a price can be negotiated for your individual needs. This is likely to be in the ballpark of approximately £12,000.

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