Darren Jones MP visited Southmead Hospital to learn more about how projects funded by Southmead Hospital Charity are shaping advances in healthcare.

Mr Jones, MP for Bristol North West, tried his hand at robotic surgery in a urology theatre, saw our new ambulance and also spent some time on the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital.

He found out more about Southmead Hospital Charity’s Prostate Cancer Care Appeal to purchase two surgical robots to treat prostate and other urological cancers.

Mr Jones met consultant urological surgeon Anthony Koupparis and used a demonstration version of the Intuitive Da Vinci robot to gain some insight into how the new technology is fighting prostate cancer.

The robot was recently purchased as part of the first wave of the Charity’s Prostate Cancer Care Appeal – with a further surgical robot to be fundraised for to extend robotic surgery to other urological cancers.

Mr Jones then went to NICU where he met staff, parents and their babies being cared for on the unit to find out more about recent projects and equipment funded by Southmead Hospital Charity.

He visited the Charity’s family sensory room in NICU which is an important space for families to interact with their babies and which includes sensory equipment key to their development.

He also found out about a new project to help parents prepare to take their babies home by enabling them to get used to administering medication themselves.

Elizabeth Bond, head of fundraising at Southmead Hospital Charity, said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Mr Jones to the hospital and talk to him about the work of the Charity and show him how we have made a real impact on patient care at North Bristol NHS Trust.

“As the MP that serves the constituency within which we are based, it’s so important for us to engage with our stakeholders and wider community to show the difference we are making thanks to our donors and fundraisers.”

Mr Jones said: “I would like to sincerely thank all the team and volunteers at Southmead Hospital Charity for hosting my visit and more importantly, the excellent work they do in supporting our local hospital. The funds they raise are helping to bring the very latest tech and innovation to patients at Southmead alongside the more traditional, but crucial items such as their new ambulance. I particularly enjoyed getting to try out the demo of the ‘Da Vinci’ robot that will, thanks to the donations of fundraisers, help to fight prostate cancer. The team are working hard to raise money for a second robot to help the fight against other urological cancers – I’ll continue to back their campaigns and encourage others to do the same”.

Pictured are Anthony Koupparis, consultant urological surgeon

Darren Jones MP for Bristol North West

Elizabeth Bond, head of fundraising, Southmead Hospital Charity

Jacolyn Fergusson, Director of People and Transformation for the Trust, lead Executive for the charity and charity trustee