ROBOTS which perform life-changing operations on patients across south Essex are set to get back into action after switching off their batteries during the height of Covid-19.

With robots at Southend and Broomfield Hospitals out of use since March, the state-of-the-art machines are now fully charged and at the ready to help treat patients for the first time in over three months.

The Da Vinci X robots, which are based at both hospital’s, are used to perform life-changing surgery in specialties including urology, gastro-intestinal, as well as in the ear, nose and throat.

Southend Hospital’s robot had only been in place for a matter of weeks before the coronavirus hit the UK, and will be mainly used for operations to help tackle prostate cancer.

Robotic surgeon Mohamed Abdalazeez has now spoken out about how some things at the hospital have had to change to help adjust to working in the “new normal” world of Covid-19.

The consultant urologist, who works at the hospital on Prittlewell Chase, said: “We used to send the patient home the next day if everything had gone well, but since the outbreak we try to send them home the same day.

“After the operation we typically wait for around six hours. We then have a discussion with the anaesthetists and the patient if we have no concerns.

“I’m pleased to say that so far there have been no complications.”

Mr Abdalazeez is now pleased to get the service back underway for patients and has praised the theatres’ team for their hard work in what has been an extremely challenging time.

He continued: “It’s really great to be able to get back to our regular patients again.

“To get here has taken a lot of teamwork and effort from everyone - the theatres’ manager, our matron, staff nurses, surgical care practitioner, the robot team and our anaesthetists.

“It’s definitely been collaborative work between all of us.”

Robots at Broomfield Hospital, which is on Court Road, Chelmsford, even had to step aside to make room for coronavirus patients whilst the virus was at it’s peak.

Covid-19 meant many theatre staff were temporarily working in intensive care and Theatre 17 at the hospital- the exact place where their robot operates from.

This then became the part of Broomfield’s critical care unit.

Marielle Huddlestone, robotic lead nurse, explained how the robot and staff returned to normal duties after helping in the fight with coronavirus.

She said: “We’ve restarted colorectal cancer cases, urology, adrenalectomies, and head and neck cases. We’re looking forward to increasing the number of cases and growing the robotic service again.”

Urology would treat bladder problems, bladder and kidney cancer, kidney blockages, and kidney stones.

Gastrointestinal relates to the stomach and intestines, and Adrenalectomy is the surgical removal of one or both adrenal glands. It is usually used for patients with tumors of the adrenal glands.