In 2021 it was announced that the Friends Major Project for the following year would be to raise £500k towards a replacement Da Vinci Robot for the Urology department at the DGH. The previous Robot, purchased by the Friends in 2015, had revolutionised the treatment of so many patients but, after daily use for seven years, it was showing significant signs of deterioration. Its retirement and replacement were therefore becoming essential in order to keep up with the demand for vital prostate and urological treatments.
2022 saw significant fundraising from the Friends and across the entire Eastbourne community. The Friends launched a calendar of events, which were superbly attended and supported throughout the year, including the ever-popular Dine Around the World evenings, quiz nights, a fashion show, a barn dance, a wine-tasting event, a seasonal fair, the huge staging of the summer-long Open Garden programme, and which culminated in the annual Autumn Art Exhibition. The latter was attended by Consultant Urologist, Mr Peter Rimington, who used the opportunity to express his gratitude, and to announce that the fundraising target had been met and the Robot subsequently purchased.
The Friends received significant donations from local bodies as well as personal donations from former urology patients who wanted to acknowledge their gratitude for treatment they’d had in the department. The support from Eastbourne and the community was overwhelming, and it was with pride that Chairman Harry Walmsley officially reported the completion of the target at the Friends AGM in November 2022.
Reflecting on the achievement, Dr Walmsley said:
“It was a pleasure to make the replacement Urology Robot the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital’s major project for 2022 and help keep Eastbourne Urology a regional centre of excellence and at the forefront of Urology Cancer services. The £500K was raised through fundraising, legacies, and donations, including generous ones from the Sussex Masonic Charity and the Medi Tech Trust. We are as always extremely grateful to the people of Eastbourne for their continued generosity in helping the Friends support our hospital in Eastbourne”.
The Da Vinci surgical system gives our surgeons an advanced set of instruments to use in performing robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons perform surgery with Da Vinci by using instruments they guide via a console. The Da Vinci system translates the surgeon’s hand movements at the console in real time, bending and rotating the instruments while performing the procedure. The tiny wristed instruments move like a human hand, but with a greater range of motion. The Da Vinci vision system also delivers highly magnified, 3D high-definition views of the surgical area. The instrument size makes it possible for surgeons to operate through one or a few small incisions. By using the Da Vinci Robot, patients get a gold standard of care, a better surgical outcome, reduced length of stay and it offers local patients top quality healthcare and expertise in radical treatment for patients with prostate cancer.
Patients come to Eastbourne DGH from across East Sussex, and Kent to receive their treatment for cancer, and the Robot also attracts highly specialist Consultants to work here, and Clinicians from overseas to train with our Consultants.
It is an amazing achievement and our thanks go to all who helped in this fundraising.