Ex-Owwls chairman gives record donation for surgical robot
A businessman who used to be the chairman of Sheffield Wednesday has donated a record sum of £1.3 million to pay for a state-of-the-art surgical robot that will help city patients.
Dave Allen’s donation is the biggest Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has ever received – and Kirsten Major, chief executive of the NHS Foundation Trust, has called the boost a ‘gift of life.’
More than 200 patients a year with prostate, kidney and bladder cancer will benefit from the robot, which is said to be one of the most advanced in the world.
David Reynolds, executive director of the Sheffield Hospitals Charity, said: “This is the largest single donation we have ever received and I’d like to personally thank Mr Allen for his incredibly kind donation. This extra robot will mean even more patients will benefit from this groundbreaking technology.
“His donation is an extremely welcome addition to the other amazing work we fund, thanks to the generosity of all our other local supporters.”
Mr Allen, who is now the chairman of the A&S Leisure Group, bought the robot after hearing about the positive impact it would have on people’s lives. He said he was caught ‘on a good day’ after just selling one of his businesses.
He added: “I’m so happy that the surgical robot will make a difference to the lives of people who live in the community. Having been successful in business, I feel proud that I can continue to make donations like this to local charities in our region.”
The robot allows major surgery to be carried out with smaller incisions, allowing patients to recover more quickly and return home earlier.
Surgeons control the device with a joystick and foot pedals, which operate a 3D high definition camera and specialised instruments attached to the arms.
The camera is ten times more accurate than the human eye and the robot’s tools are free from the natural tremor in the human hand, cutting the risk of harmful errors.
Professor Jim Catto, of the trust, said the hospitals’ existing surgical robot was shared between four departments and is in use almost constantly.
He said: “We are really quite overwhelmed with the personal generosity of Mr Allen.
“We run our current robot every day, some evenings and many weekends. The second robot will mean we can offer this less invasive form of surgery to even more patients which is fantastic.”
The first operation with the new equipment is to take place later this month at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. It will be put through its paces just like its counterpart – the Hallamshire has one of the largest urological surgery units in the country, undertaking more bladder and kidney surgery than any other NHS hospital, and is the fourth biggest facility for prostate cancer.
Ms Major said: “This is fantastic news for patients in South Yorkshire as we can now offer even more patients world-class robotic surgery to treat bowel and urological cancer, so we are incredibly grateful to Mr Allen for this incredible gift. It really is a gift of life.”