I’ll never forget the first time that I came across a robot at medical school. I was doing a clinical attachment in urology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital trust. I watched, gobsmacked, as the consultant urologist performed a prostatectomy (removing the prostate gland) by means of robotic surgery. Remarkably, this was not the only robot at the trust. Guy’s pioneered robotic transplant surgery.
The pharmacy even had one for dispensing medication. You could watch the robot in action from behind a screen as its arms collected medicine boxes with remarkable efficiency. We have become accustomed to the idea of robotic technology in various areas from the car industry and manufacturing to medical science. Robotic technology is currently being developed for all manner of health and social care.
This includes endoscopic devices to access hard to reach parts of the body and hand exoskeletons for recovering stroke patients. Nurse animatronic robots have been developed to supervise patients at home in order to ensure that they take medication regularly and are keeping well. Hollywood movies, such as I, Robot have propagated the concept of robots taking over. Full automation could lead to a total transformation of the labour market.