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Buy Addenbrooke’s a Robot Appeal


We are thrilled to announce that thanks to you, our fantastic supporters, we have reached our £1.5million target to buy a new surgical robot for Addenbrooke’s in just 18 months.

This means that thousands more patients at Addenbrooke’s will benefit from the advantages of robotic surgery, which will mean faster recovery times and quicker return home for people undergoing surgery.

Listen to Professor Grant Stewart, Professor of Surgical Oncology and Consultant Urologist at Addenbrooke’s, who has a few words for everyone who helped support our appeal. We are so grateful to everyone that supported us. Thank you.

Now that the funds have been raised, the hospital will start the procurement process to purchase the new robot. If anyone still has funds to donate, they can still do so as their money could help towards ongoing costs such as training for staff who will be using the robot.

You can read more here.

What is robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery is a form of keyhole surgery involving small incisions where the surgeon controls a computer-enhanced robot, mimicking the surgeon’s hands and wrist movements, and allowing absolute precision.

Why does Addenbrooke’s need a surgical robot?

Addenbrooke’s currently only has one robot, which is dedicated to kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer patients. ACT’s appeal will help fund another surgical robot, revolutionising patient care across six specialities in the hospital including urology, gynae-oncology, gynaecology, lower GI (gastrointestinal tract), ENT (ear, nose and throat) and HPB (Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary – diseases of the liver, pancreas and biliary tree) and improving outcomes for many more patients every year.

It can take months to recover from traditional, ‘open’ surgery but robotic surgery has many additional benefits:

  • Incisions made using robotic surgery are much smaller, reducing the risk of complications and infection
  • Scarring, pain and discomfort are minimised
  • Patients recover and return home more quickly. Following robot-assisted surgery, patients can be discharged from hospital within a matter of days, not weeks
  • A surgical robot will help the hospital to tackle the backlog of operations exacerbated by Covid-19
  • Helping Addenbrooke’s buy a robot can change the lives of thousands of patients every year.

How a surgical robot can change patients’ lives

Head and neck surgery can be very invasive and sometimes a tumour cannot be easily reached. A surgical robot would be able to access the tumour through the mouth and with precision meaning that patients regain the ability to swallow much more quickly, have minimal scarring, can eat and drink without help and need less ongoing treatment following their operation.

Ms Ekpemi Irune, ENT, Head & Neck Consultant at Addenbrooke’s, said: 

“Robotic surgery will help reduce the problems associated with head and neck surgery in cancer patients such as life changing deformity.  It will also reduce the need for radiation treatment and chemotherapy. By supporting our campaign to purchase a surgical robot, you could help ENT patients get back on their feet much sooner after an operation” 

Help patients like Adrian get back to normality

Adrian Renwick underwent robotic surgery at Addenbrooke’s to remove a tumour from his kidney. He said:

“After a couple of days, I could pretty much do anything I had been able to do before the operation. It’s had an amazing effect for my family too and once I was back home with no symptoms or pain, they could see there was no reason at all to worry. It just astonished us all how quickly I was totally back to normal. That robot is an incredible piece of kit.”

Help patients like Michael bounce back after an operation

Kidney surgery can be extremely traumatic for the body. An ‘open’ operation to remove a tumour, for example, involves cutting through the stomach muscles to get deep inside the body. A surgeon may be removing a tiny tumour, but patients can be left with a huge scar. For weeks afterwards, they can struggle to sit up, as the stomach muscles slowly heal.

At Addenbrooke’s, surgeons can use a surgical robot and access the kidney with just a few incisions and with tools that are extremely precise and easy to manoeuvre.

“I was surprised by how quickly I recovered. My family and friends were phoning up saying ‘How’s the patient?’ and I was saying, ‘I’m not a patient anymore, I’m absolutely fine!’” – Michael, after robot-assisted surgery

There are two main ways you can help:

John Addenbrooke’s Lecture – Robots and Surgeons: Changing Patients’ Lives

Our annual event held in February heard from leading Addenbrooke’s surgeons Professor Grant Stewart and Mr Siong-Seng Liau, who shared their experiences of the benefits of robotic surgery and how it could transform care for thousands of patients.

There were a number of questions submitted by the audience during the lecture. The panel wasn’t able to answer them all on the evening, but they have kindly got back to us on all the questions and provided answers here.

You can watch a recording of the lecture below.

Children’s services & the Cambridge Children’s Hospital

With your help we will ensure that every child experiences the best possible care. Please donate today.

Supporting children at Addenbrooke’s

With your help we want to ensure that every child experiences the best possible care. We want to make the hospital experience as positive and worry free as it can be – whether by providing specialist play and music therapy, improving surgical and diagnostic tools to help children recover better, or offering therapeutic support to the whole family when they need it most. To do this and more, we are planning to build a new, state-of-the-art dedicated children’s hospital.

You have already helped fund:

  • Lifesaving kit for a new children’s emergency ambulance service (launched April 2021). The Eastern region has been the only region without dedicated ambulances for transferring critically ill younger people and has had to rely on services outside the region.
  • A dedicated family therapist to support families as an entire unit, delivering a holistic approach to family mental health and emotional well-being – wherever they are based, wherever they have been treated in the hospital and whatever the circumstances.
  • The refurbishment of the Paediatric Day Unit which cares for over 6,000 children with cancer and haematological cancer every year
  • An MRI compatible incubator to provide excellent quality MRI scans for critically ill babies.
  • Play therapy to make hospital a less scary place for our younger patients
  • Sensory units to help provide a calming environment for children

Cambridge Children’s Hospital

Over the next few years, we will be fundraising to build the new Cambridge Children’s Hospital. It will be the first dedicated children’s hospital in the eastern region. Cambridge Children’s Hospital will be situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and will provide a whole new way of caring for children and young people, integrating mental and physical healthcare and having a life-changing impact on children regionally, nationally and globally.

Exceptional care will be underpinned by world-leading research from the University of Cambridge, with a 5,000sqm research institute embedded in the hospital, bringing together clinical and academic excellence.

The Research Institute will integrate cutting-edge treatments and technology to not just treat diseases, but prevent them completely.

The Government has committed £100 million to the pioneering project, and ACT, together with Head to Toe charity and the University of Cambridge announced a campaign in 2021 to raise a further £100 million in philanthropy and fundraising to make our vision a reality.

You can read more about our vision for this transformational hospital at

If you are interested in being part of this once in a lifetime journey, donate above, contact Patrick Hawke-Smith at or call 01223 609243.

Cancer Counselling Service Appeal

**STOP PRESS** The Cancer Counselling service has now been funded!

Our new Cancer Counselling Service will ensure every cancer patient at Addenbrooke’s receives the best possible emotional support. The service will consist of two elements, for an initial period of two years.

The first element will be a Psychological Wellbeing Service for blood cancer patients, led by a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) who will assess and support people with common mental health problems. We expect the PWP to receive 2-3 referrals a week and will see approximately 150 patients a year.

The second will be a dedicated Pastoral Care Service, available to all patients with cancer and their families, focusing on outpatients where cancer patients receive the majority of treatment. An important element of the new service is that it is responsive with simple referral mechanisms.

Please help us fund this service – donate today – thank you.

To find out more, please contact us at or call 01223 217757.

Details are correct at time of publishing, E&OE.

Children’s Emergency Ambulance Service Appeal

**STOP PRESS** Thanks to our incredible supporters we have reached our target and have raised enough to put two children’s ambulance on the road! 

Celebrity chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, is a supporter of the Children’s Services at Addenbrooke’s and was filmed back in November hiding out at Addenbrooke’s in an episode of Celebrity Hunted. He went on to win the series along with fellow fugitives Aldo Zilli and Gavin Henson. You can watch the episode on catch up here (series 3, episode 4)

Rob Heuschkel, CUH Clinical Director for Cambridge Children’s Hospital’s thanked our supporters for helping to fund the first ambulance. View the video below:

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is home to the East of England’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Whilst it provides state-of-the-art care to critically ill children, it does not have a dedicated children’s ambulance service. This is surprising given that adults and newborn babies benefit from specialist services of their own.

Regular 999 ambulances are not kitted out with the specialist equipment required to keep critically-ill children alive during transfers, so we currently rely on the London-based specialist service.

This often results in long delays, which for those children and families is simply unbearable.

Crucially, the current provision does not transport children back to their local hospital once they are on the road to recovery. This means that children spend unnecessary time further away from home, friends and family.

A children’s emergency ambulance service for the East of England would benefit over 1,700 children a year, providing faster response times, ensuring that children swiftly get the care and expertise that their lives depend on.

To find out more, please contact us at or call 01223 217757.

Details are correct at time of publishing, E&OE.

Family Therapist Appeal

**STOP PRESS** You’ve helped us reach our target! Thank you so much to everyone that donated to fund this vital service to families.

Families can be forever affected by an accident or traumatic event that leaves their loved ones incapacitated, in hospital or with permanent injuries. This shock and distress can place a terrible strain on any family, leading to communication breakdown and conflict, marital separation and difficulties for children during their formative years.

This new post of Family Therapist would primarily support families as an entire unit, delivering a holistic approach to family mental health and emotional well being – wherever they are based, wherever they have been treated in the hospital and whatever the circumstances.

Crucially, the Family Therapist will operate across the region, travelling to wherever is most convenient for families so that they don’t need to return to hospital. This will make support more accessible to families in need.

We expect to see improved family functioning, an increased ability for children of affected families to handle social situations and interact in educational settings, parents better equipped to cope with everyday life and ultimately stronger family relationships.

Please help us fund this service – donate today – thank you.

To find out more, please contact us at or call 01223 217757.

Details are correct at time of publishing, E&OE.

3D Surgical Planning Service Appeal

**STOP PRESS** The 3D Surgical Planning Service has now been funded and is set to offer an amazing service for patients at Addenbrooke’s by being the first hospital in the East of England to have this standard of in-house digital surgical planning. We are immensely grateful to The Alborada Trust for their generous grant to support this new service and would like to thank everyone that has made donations towards this service.

Every day, 33 people in the UK are diagnosed with head and neck cancer.  For those battling this devastating disease, surgery usually offers the best chance of survival.

However, this type of surgery is incredibly complex and can require patients to be under general anaesthetic for nine hours or more. This brings a number of associated risks, which for some patients mean surgery is not an option. The sheer length of these procedures also significantly limits the number of patients that can be treated, and this delay could mean the difference between life and death.

However, new, cutting edge technology means operating times could be dramatically reduced. A new, highly precise scanner combined with specialist modelling software and a 3D printer will allow clinicians to plan complex surgery like never before.

It will not only dramatically cut surgery times and transform the lives of patients with head and neck cancer, but also for those with facial trauma, dental problems and children born with cleft lip and palate.

The innovative new service will:

  • Help cut the duration of surgical procedures by up to 60%
  • Reduce average waiting times for surgery by up to 6 weeks
  • Reduce the need for patients to travel to other hospitals
  • Provide even greater accuracy from diagnosis to surgery

With your help, we can invest in innovations like this that will help clinicians at Addenbrooke’s save and transform lives.

Please help us fund this service – donate today – thank you.

To find out more, please contact us at or call 01223 217757.

Details are correct at time of publishing, E&OE.

Liver Transplant Service Appeal

**STOP PRESS** We recently reached the £250,000 target that was set at the beginning of the campaign thanks to the generous support of all of our donors and the machine has now been fully funded.

We wanted to invest in the very latest cutting-edge liver perfusion technology that enables transplant surgeons to ‘test out’ livers before transplanting them.

Liver perfusion not only ensures that unsafe livers are not transplanted, but also gives surgeons confidence to use some livers that would previously have not been used due to lack of confidence in their viability. Not only will many more lives be saved, but recovery times should also be much improved.

Since its installation at Addenbrooke’s – the first hospital in the UK which has one in routine use for transplants – the Transplant team have perfused a total of 57 livers, of which 43 were able to be used. This means that the lives of 43 more people have been saved, taking them off the waiting list and enabling them to spend many more years with their loved ones.

Having the machine allows Addenbrooke’s to use the greatest proportion of high risk livers (those where subsequent function would otherwise be uncertain) than any other transplant centre in the UK; it also contributes to our having the best 30-day survival rate and the highest transplant rate per waiting list patient, meaning that fewer patients will die waiting for a liver.” 

Professor Chris Watson, Consultant Transplant Surgeon

Read Paul’s storyMichelle’s story and Maggie’s story to find out how their transplants changed their lives.

You can still help

As more transplants are being carried out –  as well as the forthcoming opt-out system for organ donation – ACT wants to ensure that the hospital is ready for this increased demand. The charity would now like to support improvements that will ensure that patients and the relatives visiting them in hospital are more comfortable, such as making our patient day rooms more homely as well as providing a brighter, more comfortable space for patients being assessed for a liver transplant.

If you would like to make the above improvements a reality for transplant patients, please donate online. Your donation could help the team develop new techniques in surgery, respond to the clinical needs of tomorrow and make an excellent ground-breaking service even better.

Please help support transplant patients – donate today. Thank you.

To find out more, please contact us at or call 01223 217757.