How Robotic Surgery is Revolutionising the Operating Room: A Look Inside Milton Keynes University Hospital

“My hopes and expectations of the robotic-assisted surgery programme is to see the number of specialties and the range of procedures expand, so that more patients can benefit from this technology, and ultimately to see this become mainstream across the NHS because we know the clinical outcomes are really good for patients.”

– Professor Joe Harrison, Chief Executive, Milton Keynes University Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust

In this feature documentary, we went behind the theatre doors to hear directly from the teams at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH) working with Versius every day, to discover their experience of the surgical robotics programme to date, and what their plans for the future look like.

NHS Trusts up and down the UK are working hard to clear the significant backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to limited hospital bed capacity, hospitals are looking to increase efficiencies in order to get more patients through the same number of beds – and many are looking to cutting-edge technologies to provide a helping hand.

MKUH were the first in the UK to install Versius in 2019. In 2022, they reported an annual saving of 450 bed days following the adoption of Versius.

But what does that look like for the teams using Versius every day?

The implementation of surgical robotics has had a significant impact on patient outcomes. Enabled by the robot, the surgical team have been able to offer a minimally access approach to a wider range of patients – with benefits including helping to get patients back at home and returning to normal activity faster (1,2). The small and modular design of Versius has also enabled the team to quickly roll-out a multi-speciality robotics programme so as many patients as possible can benefit – and have plans to extend to further specialties.

The surgeons using Versius have also reported less pain compared to when they operate with traditional laparoscopy. Some even feel this has helped them avoid injury and will extend their surgical careers. A more efficient and cohesive team performance has been observed in the robotic theatres – and the hospital has recorded a positive impact on staff recruitment and retention.


1 Schwenk W, Haase O, Neudecker J, Muller JM. Short term benefits for laparoscopic colorectal resection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev2005;3:CD003145.

2 Laudicella M, Walsh B, Munasinghe A, et al. Impact of laparoscopic versus open surgery on hospital costs for colon cancer: a population- based retrospective cohort study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e012977. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016- 012977.

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