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State of the art 'whoosh tube' worth £190k installed at Ipswich Hospital is first of its kind in Britain

Ipswich Hospital has installed a brand new machine which sucks equipment up a tube transporting it from one end to the other. Pictured is system organiser Mark Finch. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Hospital has installed a brand new machine which sucks equipment up a tube transporting it from one end to the other. Pictured is system organiser Mark Finch. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Doctors and nurses can now send drugs and samples around Ipswich Hospital faster than ever before - after installing an £190,000 pneumatic 'whoosh tube' delivery system.

Ipswich Hospital has installed a brand new machine which sucks equipment up a tube transporting it from one end to the other. Picture: GREGG BROWNIpswich Hospital has installed a brand new machine which sucks equipment up a tube transporting it from one end to the other. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The state-of-the-art device is similar to pneumatic systems seen in some supermarkets.

It uses air suction and pressure to send carriers along a network of tubes to specific wards and departments such as the pharmacy and pathology lab.

Ipswich is thought to be the first hospital in Britain to introduce the technology. Travelling at a high speed, the whoosh tube directs samples from one end of the hospital to the other in just two minutes. Samples are put into containers colour coded according to which ward or department they are destined for. Green is for the pharmacy, red is for pathology or wards while yellow is for urgent departments such as A&E.

Robotics automatically manage the way the containers are distributed – and increases the system’s capacity by around 400%.

Ipswich Hospital has installed a brand new machine which sucks equipment up a tube transporting it from one end to the other. Pictured is Sister Pauline Meadows. Picture: GREGG BROWNIpswich Hospital has installed a brand new machine which sucks equipment up a tube transporting it from one end to the other. Pictured is Sister Pauline Meadows. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Woolverstone Macmillan Centre ward sister Pauline Meadows said the whoosh tube has boosted the speed at which cancer patients’ blood samples are sent off and received – helping them diagnose people more quickly.

“It has helped us and is much more efficient,” she said. “We were really excited when they installed the new tubes and it is much faster. Patients are able to be diagnosed more quickly as we get their test results back faster.”

The new system, which operates from 50 different stations around the hospital, was installed with the help of capital projects manager Mark Finch.

He said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to introduce this state-of-the-art technology, which is already bringing faster communication to all of our clinical areas.

“The whoosh tube system sends medication and samples around the hospital quickly, efficiently and securely, and will save a huge amount of staff time which would otherwise be spent transporting them manually.

“This is great news for both our clinicians and our patients, who are able to receive test results, samples and medication more quickly.”

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