Despite all the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic, five surgeons completed their ESCP Colorectal Robotic Surgery Fellowship in 2020/2021. Robotic surgery fellows received overwhelming support from their host centres and experiences described by fellows indicate high quality of training delivered through modular training programmes. Individual reports of these fellows are available here.

Click on a fellow's name to read their report

NameCountryHost CentreDates
Carlijn Witjes The Netherlands Amphia Hospital, Breda, The Netherlands July to December 2021
Deena Harji UK CHU Bordeaux, France  REPORT TO FOLLOW
Konstantinos Tsimogiannis Sweden  Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK REPORT TO FOLLOW
Wee Sing Ngu UK Hospital Valle De Hebron, Barcelona, Spain REPORT TO FOLLOW
Patricia Tejedor Spain Valdecilla University Hospital, Santander, Spain  REPORT TO FOLLOW

Carlijn Witjes

From: The Netherlands 

Visited: Amphia Hospital, Department of Surgery, under the direction of Mr. George van der Schelling and Mr. Rogier Crolla

Carlijn W Fellowship Report Photo 2

First of all, I regret this fellowship is about to end! I had an amazing time, had great trainers, worked in an excellent team and was part of a good teaching hospital for months. I am grateful to ESCP for this opportunity and for making it possible to officially become a robotic surgeon.

In the beginning I was learning how to perform a robotic colorectal procedure. At the end, I was teaching and supervising the Locum Consultant and Specialty Registrars on how to perform left sided colonic resections. I got independent in colorectal robotic surgery and alongside could see all the possibilities robotic surgery has on different levels within different specialties. Becoming independent on the robot for colorectal surgery was my goal. Achieving a supervisor role felt like a dream come true!


The ESCP Robotic Fellowship gave me the opportunity to visit one of the largest teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. My two robotic surgical trainers were Mr. George van der Schelling and Mr. Rogier Crolla, both experienced Colorectal Surgeons who also practice Upper GI-, HPB- and Endocrine Surgery. With them already being robotic surgeons for more than a decade, this visit turned out to be a unique opportunity. It became a mixture of getting robotic skills, being educated in colorectal and colorectal side specialties, and being taught in everything a robot can do or can be used for.

During my fellowship both the Si and an Xi robot were used. Having the opportunity to be trained on both robots and getting to know them in detail was great. During the switch from Si to Xi there were a lot of wet lab training sessions where my trainers took me alongside. Their experience in setting up a robotic service and how to introduce a new robot was very insightful.

The focus was on Colorectal Surgery but it was on a ground of General Surgery. It felt like something extra, and it was useful to see how for instance colorectal metastatic disease could be treated. Or, how the robot can assist you during complication surgery e.g., abdominal wall reconstructive surgery. This wider knowledge of HPB-, Upper GI- and Endocrine robotic surgery was useful technically and medically as patients usually don’t come with one disease at a time.

Carlign W Report Photo 3

I sat by MDT’s, handovers, grand rounds, team- and governance meetings. Mr. van der Schelling and Mr. Crolla showed me around on the ward, in clinic and introduced me to the consultant body. I got a supervising role for Surgical Specialty Registrars, junior doctors, and medical students in general.

Beside monitoring my skills and progression of skills they took me alongside their pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative decision-making process which was very insightful.

During my stay in the Amphia Hospital I joined research meeting, journal clubs and teambuilding events. I am currently working on two mainly IBD orientated research papers in collaboration with the UK.

Carlijn W Report Photo 5


Mr. van der Schelling and Mr. Crolla are international proctors and often national and international surgical consultants came over for a visit. I was invited to join these meetings and further along my fellowship I even got the opportunity to show my robotic skills to a visiting colorectal consultant while performing a low anterior resection independently.

I am grateful I got the chance to work with these two highly experienced and skilled surgeons. It felt as a huge achievement to train Specialty Registrars and Locum consultants, it was beyond expectations. The skills I developed during my robotic fellowship made me a better surgeon in general and made me signed off as an independent robotic surgeon, what else could a person wish for!

Getting to know the Dutch medical health system and the possibilities a Dutch teaching hospital has was educational. With all innovative steps already taken, robotic surgery will be part of each surgeons future. I am pleased to be trained and ready for this future.

Deena Harji 

From: Manchester University, NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Visited: CHU Bordeaux, France, under the direction of Prof. Quentin Denost

Konstantinos Tsimogiannis  

From: Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden 

Visited: Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK, under the direction of Dr. Jim Khan  

Konstantinos Report PhotoDuring my fellowship I was actively involved in both observing and performing colorectal, upper gastrointestinal and general surgical procedures, robotically and laparoscopically. I had a great exposure to the robotic surgery procedure and attended the Portsmouth course on the basic principles of robotic surgery. I have also taken part in multidisciplinary meetings for bowel cancer, outpatient clinics and ward rounds. I performed many robotic procedures under supervision, mainly colorectal.

The fellowship helped me to gain a good understanding of precision surgery for colorectal cancer, in particular TME surgery and CME for colon cancer. I developed skills, confidence and experience in robotic colorectal surgery.

Courses I attended during the fellowship:

  • Portsmouth Robo-CERT Basic Robotic Skills Course
  • Upper GI Robotic Surgery Course - facilitator

Konstantinos Report Photo 3


PHU has a very dynamic research program and I was actively involved in prospective trials, studies and submission of abstracts to various meeting such as: Single unit experience of Transanal Robotic Surgery (TARS) for early rectal cancer. Tsimogiannis K, Kumar L, Khan J Colorectal Dis 2021. Various other projects are at different stages of acceptance.


Prof Khan has an amazing teaching attitude and dedication. What I found to be significant in my learning was the fact that every procedure was performed in a standardised way, something that makes learning easier. 

Konstantinos Report Photo 2QA Hospital and Prof Khan made my fellowship worth the time spent away from my family. I strongly believe that I could not have learned robotic surgery in such a depth if I had not been in Portsmouth. I have already performed my first independent Robotic case in Uppsala with great outcome.

‘It was an absolute pleasure to have Kostas at Portsmouth as ESCP fellow for 6 months. He brought in a wealth of experience and energy to the unit. With his can do attitude and smile on the face he became very popular amongst peers and staff. He is a very good surgeon and was always open to learn new ways of operating. His quest to get better always helped him to learn faster and I was extremely pleased and satisfied with his solo performance in robotic surgery towards the end of his placement. He certainly has a bright career ahead of him.’ – Dr Jim Khan.


Wee Sing Ngu 

From: South Tyneside District Hospital, South Shields, UK

Visited: Hospital Valle De Hebron, Barcelona, Spain, under the direction of Dr Eloy Espin Basany  

Patricia Tejedor

From: University Hospital Gomez Ulla, Madrid, Spain 

Visited: Valdecilla University Hospital, Santander, Spain, under the direction of Dr Marcos Gomez Ruiz & Dr Julio del Castillo Diego 

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