Transforming the future of surgical procedures for our community with the da Vinci surgical robot

The da Vinci Robot is a state-of-the-art surgical system that offers a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgeries, leading to faster recovery times and improved patient outcomes.

The da Vinci Robot is a robotic surgery system that offers a minimally invasive alternative to both open surgery and laparoscopy (keyhole) surgery. Because the da Vinci robot requires only a few tiny incisions and offers greater vision, precision and control for the surgeon, patients recover sooner and get back to daily life quicker. In recent years, sufficient studies and data have accumulated to form a consensus that this surgical approach is the most effective option for procedures including general surgical, urological, gynaecological and head and neck work; procedures that are often required to treat cancers.

However, the state-of-the-art technology costs close to $4 million, which is the main reason why the five da Vinci robots currently in use in New Zealand are all within the private healthcare system. At present, patients within the public health system cannot access the significant outcome benefits offered through the surgical approach, creating inequalities between those who can afford health insurance, or who can afford to pay the cost of private surgery, and the majority who cannot. Through the support of private donors, Well Foundation has helped bring this transformative technology to the public health sector for the first time in New Zealand.

“Te Whatu Ora sincerely thanks the donors that have supported the Well Foundation in supporting the purchase of the surgical robot

Brad Healey, Interim Lead Hospital and Specialist Services of Waitematā District Te Whatu Ora, shares
The da Vinci robot peeling a tomato

Since the introduction of the robotic surgery program, over 140 cases have been undertaken, and we expect there will be between 300 & 360 cases completed annually at the new Tōtara Haumaru hospital facility. The early results of our programme have been incredibly promising. For instance there has been a:

  • 47% reduction in blood loss for robotic-assisted prostatectomies compared to open surgeries.
  • Hospital stays have been reduced by 40%

While we are still gathering data, these early results align with international studies, and we are confident of the long-term positive impact this technology will have for patients.

Well Foundation, thanks to the support of private donors, provided the seed funding towards the cost of purchasing the da Vinci surgical robot, for the benefit of public hospital patients for the first time in New Zealand. This opens the door to a new era of surgical precision and efficiency and a better future for our community.

Our impact is only made possible through the following incredibly generous organisations: