Technology such as AI and robotics must be embraced by the NHS if it is to be effective in the future, surgeons have suggested.

The health service has been dealing with long waiting lists for routine treatment and complex surgeries as well as a series of strikes by consultants, nurses and other staff.

Professor Naeem Soomro, who is on the Royal College of Surgeons council, said there is a "huge demand" for health care could only be solved through technology - especially as the NHS faces a staffing shortage.

"We can't just generate more people," he told Sky News.

"The biggest problem we face right now is access to care - and robotics, data and artificial intelligence will help the NHS respond to those challenges."

The Argus: The use of Da Vinci bots have helped with some medical procedures alreadyThe use of Da Vinci bots have helped with some medical procedures already (Image: PA)

Some NHS trusts already pushing for technology

Last year, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, which boasts the UK's largest robotic surgery programme, completed a week's worth of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy procedures in one day.

Prof Soomro, who has used the same so-called Da Vinci robotics systems at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, said adopting the tech had "transformed bed usage".

He said: "One of the big challenges we have is bed space - if we don't have it, it means patients simply don't have access to operations and hospitals.

"Robotics lets us do three operations a day instead of one, and some patients go home on the same day."

The Da Vinci bots act as an extension of a surgeon's hands and fingers, allowing for complex procedures.

Milton Keynes University Hospital has also been using penguin-shaped androids as hospital porters, helping move paperwork and medicine across the site to free up staff time.

Professor Sanjay Purkayastha, consultant surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare Trust, has also called for the NHS to have a "completely digital medical records system".

Additionally, they suggested using AI to automate administrative tasks to help free up more time for staff members.

A pilot study in Surrey has found AI can categorise and interpret X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds also.

The tool by Qure AI was trialled by Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and could differentiate between normal and abnormal chest scans with a 99.7% accuracy rate.

Darren Stephens, the company's corporate vice president, said it the NHS must embrace AI as it cannot recruit radiographers, radiologists, and doctors "at the level we need to meet demand".