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Shock for CMR Surgical staff as wave of redundancies announced

CMR Surgical staff have been left shocked by a host of redundancies.

The company, which recently hit the milestone of 10,000 procedures completed with its Versius surgical robot globally, said it was rebalancing its workforce to cater for the markets in which it was selling.

Versius in use at at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Picture: CMR Surgical
Versius in use at at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Picture: CMR Surgical

Two sources told the Cambridge Independent that as many as 350 people were being made redundant – about a third of the workforce – but the company would not confirm any figures.

A spokesperson said: “CMR is now a fully commercial international business and in this stage of our growth we need to ensure we are putting our resources and decision-making in the regions where we sell Versius.

“We are pleased to have continued growing demand for Versius. We are continuing to invest in the regional markets where we are selling so we can be near to our customers.”

The company is understood to be responding to demand in Europe.

“We need to balance our workforce and ensure we have the resource in the right place to deliver the best customer experience so that we can help patients,” said the spokesperson, adding: “CMR Surgical’s mission is to transform surgery by bringing patients the benefits of minimal access surgery.

“The demand for our commercialised Versius surgical robotics system continues to be very strong, with the number of systems installed more than doubling in the past year. We are focused on running our business in an efficient way to deliver the best surgical care to patients.”

CMR Surgical's Versius robot
CMR Surgical's Versius robot

Writing on LinkedIn, Henry Norton, a surgical robotics recruiter and host of The Surgibots Podcast, said: “I am deeply sorry to hear about the news coming out of CMR Surgical.

“I know that a lot of hard work, dedication and skill has gone into building the product and company and it is a shame to see all the green banners across LinkedIn.

“If you have been affected please feel free to reach out, and if I don’t have a specific role for you, I will do my best to point you in the right direction of who is hiring for your role at the current time.”

Others at CMR Surgical also sought to aid their departing colleagues.

Benjamin Rand, global head of the business unit at CMR Surgical, told contacts on LinkedIn: “With some changes happening in my locality and industry, a selection of top talent individuals have become available for work.

“Please reach out to me so I might connect you to some of the very best skilled people I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside across a variety of disciplines and multiple levels of seniority.”

Engineering, manufacturing, field service and support, technical support, product ownership and project management are among the areas affected by the redundancies.

An artist's version of the new Ely site for CMR Surgical. Picture: Image Foundry/dma architects
An artist's version of the new Ely site for CMR Surgical. Picture: Image Foundry/dma architects

The redundancies come shortly after the company, which is building a manufacturing facility near Ely, confirmed that the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge has adopted Versius for thoracic surgery – the first in the UK to do so.

CMR Surgical recently announced a change of CEO, with Supratim Bose replacing Per Vegard Nerseth, who joined in 2020.

It also opened a Cambridge Science Park headquarters recently to add to its R&D site at Evolution Business Park in Impington.

The company said no decisions had yet been made over the sites.

CMR is a unicorn that has raised hundreds of millions of pounds to fund its expansion, but it is not alone in the competitive sector in making redundancies.

In the US, Johnson & Johnson is understood to be laying off 350 employees in the surgical robotics space at the end of April, according to notices filed in California.

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