Robot could dispense drugs at hospital

A ROBOT could be installed at Ipswich Hospital in a bid to dispense drugs quicker and ease the pressure on busy staff.The automated dispensing system, which has recently been introduced at Addenbrooke's Hospital, could be set up at the Heath Road site.

A ROBOT could be installed at Ipswich Hospital in a bid to dispense drugs quicker and ease the pressure on busy staff.

The automated dispensing system, which has recently been introduced at Addenbrooke's Hospital, could be set up at the Heath Road site.

A business plan is currently being looked at before the plans are approved.

If it is introduced the robot will be just part of the changes that are being introduced to the way the pharmacy works.

Recently £1.79million has been allocated to extend the pharmacy and it is hoped to reduce the current store and combine the dispensary and main store locations.

But this can only be done if the robot is introduced.

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Kevin Purser is chief pharmacist at the hospital. He said that it is hoped the robot would help speed up the dispensing process.

Mr Purser said: "Pharmacy staff will be dispensing prescriptions that are automatically linked to the robot which will label it up and get it ready for staff.

"The robot will know exactly where it got it from and where to put it back."

Another change that has already been made is special patient lockers next to their beds.

The patient can bring in their own medication with them, which can then be topped up by pharmacy staff.

Patient drugs are reviewed on admission and their medication history is taken so other medicines can be ordered ready for their discharge.

This can help speed up a patient's discharge so they are not hanging around waiting for their drugs to be dispensed.

Claire Barlow is Director of Nursing at the hospital.

She said: "People can bring in their drugs that they have at home and pharmacy can check them out.

"Some patients collect drugs over a period of time. Part of the philosophy of the patient lockers is that we check out everything at the time.

"We can get rid of the old stuff, give them new stuff and give them guidance on how the medication needs to be taken."

The pharmacy has also been selected to become the lead unit for NHS manufacturing in the Eastern Region.

It has been agreed to be the strategic lead for sterile products and clinical trial materials.

Ipswich is one of only 15 classical manufacturing units in the country that can carry out a wide range of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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