New Commission to explore potential of robots and other new technologies in surgery

Posted 20 December 2017 in

Call for contributions now open The Royal College of Surgeons has launched an independent Commission to explore the future of surgical care in the next twenty years.

The Commission on the Future of Surgery will identify and explore the innovations that will most likely affect surgical treatment. This includes a shift from open surgery to single or even no incision operations; autonomous robots that work in synergy with the surgeon; and how 3D printed or lab-grown organs might solve the issue of the shortage of organs.

Commissioners will consider developments in minimally invasive surgery, robot-assisted surgery, nanotechnology, radiology and imaging, artificial intelligence, genetics, oncology, 3D printing and planning, regenerative medicine, pharmacology, and anaesthesia. The project will also consider advances in medicine and technology that may make surgery redundant, such as new pharmacological treatments, gene therapy or further developments in interventional radiology and targeted radiotherapy.

Renowned experts from the fields of medicine, science, digital technology, as well as lay representation, have been appointed to the Commission. Neurosurgeon, Mr Richard Kerr, who is Chair of the Commission and a Royal College of Surgeons Council Member, said:

“It’s without a doubt a very exciting time for medicine as a whole, for surgery and technology. As a surgeon, I get the sense that we’re standing on the edge of something quite transformative. That said, we cannot just barrel blindly into this brave new world without carefully considering the implications for patients of all the changes that are likely to come over the next twenty years.”

“We want to make sure that both surgery as a profession and the healthcare system are ready for the advances coming our way. This means considering issues like the choices of treatment that will be available to patients; what the role of the surgeons and members of the surgical team will be in the future, and how they will be trained; where ethical lines will be drawn; and what is safe for our patients. Central to this will be the patient and how these changes will impact the quality of care and outcomes of their surgery.”

The Commission on the Future of Surgery will not consider the financial and Government policy implications of the medical advances it investigates.

Call for contributions
The Commission is currently seeking input, evidence and contributions from experts, researchers, innovators and future gazers from around the world. If your work is relevant to the scope of our inquiry, we would very much like to hear from you.

We need your contribution to understand the changes that may take place in surgery in the next twenty years and to help us and other health system leaders to prepare for the challenges and opportunities presented by likely innovations and discoveries.

Email your written contribution to Barbara Pitruzzella

The deadline for written submissions will be midnight on 18 February 2018.

If you would like to get in touch with us to discuss this further, please contact Barbara Pitruzzella or by call 020 7869 6049.