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Robotic surgery deal for Barwon Health

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Barwon Health has reached an agreement that ensures equity and continuity of access to robotic surgery for public patients in Geelong.

An agreement to use the state-of-the-art $4 million Da Vinci robot at Geelong Private Hospital was previously in place, but since its closure in May, there was a temporary arrangement to continue urological surgeries at University Hospital Geelong with loaned equipment.

This week, Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville announced a new agreement now ensured Barwon Health would have its own Da Vinci Xi robot to perform a wide range of minimally-invasive operations, making Geelong home to Australia’s only regional public hospital-based robotic service. 

The agreement came after months of advocacy and work with University Hospital Geelong Director of Urological Surgery Richard Grills.

Mr Grills said the Da Vinci Xi robot had showed much improved outcomes over the two years it has been used in Geelong, with a significantly greater degree of precision available to surgeons compared to the human hand.

To be able to provide the same care, with the same state of the art technology in the public sector as what we can provide in private hospitals has been really important to Urological Surgeons in Geelong,” he said.

“As a surgeon, you want all of your patients to recover as quickly as possible, have a good outcome, get home to their family and back to regular activities, whether that’s work or playing bowls.

“Our complication rate is proven to be very low and our length of stay has reduced from four or five days with open prostate surgery to one day with robotic surgery, while for kidney surgery it has gone from seven days to two days.”

The robotic surgical device’s four arms each control different instruments and enable more precise surgery, which means more comfort, quicker recovery and a less complications for the patient compared to a traditional open surgery.

Geelong resident Lindsay Fuller had his prostate removed with the Da Vinci robot seven weeks ago, and said he was pleased other public patients could continue to use the service.

“It’s fantastic that this surgery is available to public patients and the care is just as good here as anywhere,” he said.

“It surprised me – I left hospital the next day, was walking around within a few days and doing normal things.

“A lot of people I play golf with have had the same surgery and it provided me a much better option than the alternatives.”

The new Da Vinci Xi robotic device will be delivered in two weeks and will be used to treat patients within days of arriving.