The Scottish Government has announced that they will introduce robot-assisted surgery for prostate cancer on the NHS. This follows months of work by us and our campaigners, in Holyrood and in the media, calling on them to introduce the technique.
As recently as July the Scottish Government said that it was “important that we carry out further research to help inform our decision making” due to “uncertainty around the clinical and cost-effectiveness evidence of robotic surgery,” stating that a research study was “expected to begin around October 2014 and would take around two years to complete and report."
However on 19 August, barely two weeks after our Holyrood campaign day highlighted to MSPs that robotic surgery was widely available to men in England whilst there was no access for men in Scotland, the Scottish Government announced that robot-assisted surgery was to be introduced north of the border.
The first robot is to be based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, with the first patient expected to benefit early next year. The Scottish Government called the announcement “the start of a process to deliver nationwide robotically assisted surgery.”
We have been arguing for a long time that all men who need a radical prostatectomy should be able to choose whether to have this done by robot-assisted surgery or not. It is a great result that men in Scotland will soon have this choice.