Ro­bot will dis­pense drugs

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FRONT PAGE -

HOSPI­TAL of­fi­cials pre­dict an end to long waits for pre­scrip­tion drugs at the William Har­vey, thanks to their latest sign­ing – robophar­ma­cist. Man­u­fac­tured in Ger­many, the new £125,000 com­put­erised stor­age sys­tem for drugs uses a ro­botic arm and a suc­tion sys­tem to dis­pense medicine at high speed. It also mon­i­tors which drugs it has in stock by scan­ning the bar­codes on their boxes. Speak­ing at a pa­tients’ fo­rum meet­ing in Char­ing, Peter Bramley, act­ing di­rec­tor of phar­macy at the east Kent hos­pi­tals trust, said: “We wanted to make our sup­ply of drugs more ef­fi­cient. “For sev­eral years, the De­part­ment of Health has said it’s a good thing, and phar­ma­cists should be in­tro­duc­ing th­ese ro­bots, but in prac­tice, dis­pen­saries were not de­signed with the idea that a large metal box should be placed in the rooms, so the in­tro­duc­tion of them has been very slow. “The ben­e­fit of au­to­matic dis­pens­ing is that it is more rapid. In­stead of go­ing to the shelves and look­ing for them, the medicines will come to you. “It is also safer, be­cause some of the names of the medicines are very sim­i­lar, and the pack­ag­ing can look the same. “The ro­bot works on an 11 digit bar­code, so it re­duces the risk of the wrong medicine be­ing given out.” Mr Bramley also re­as­sured the mem­bers of the fo­rum that no jobs at phar­ma­cies had been af­fected by the new tech­nol­ogy.

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