Pharmacy Robot

A hi-tech robot is helping to ensure patients at The James Cook University Hospital get their medicines quicker.

Sabine Davies and robot

The state-of-the-art automated system, based in the hospital’s main pharmacy, dispenses and labels a required drug in just seven seconds.

As well as increasing the speed at which medicines are given out to inpatients, using the robot will also allow the pharmacy team to redesign the services they provide to patients, supporting more staff to work on the wards.

Director of pharmacy Jacqueline Miller said: “Robotic dispensing is becoming commonplace in hospital pharmacies across the UK and the benefits it brings to service delivery are proven. This new addition to our team will help us to deliver a faster and more efficient service to our patients.”

The new robot will be used for dispensing discharge prescriptions, supplying medicines for named inpatient use and providing stocks to wards and departments.

robot armCosting just over £200,000, automated dispensing systems (ADS) automate the storing and picking of products and the labelling stage of the dispensing process. Most of the stock will be stored inside the robot, with items all individually bar-coded and scanned to identify the product and the pack dimensions.

The pharmacy’s stock control system is connected to software which triggers the system to ‘pick’ an item during the medication supply process using a robotic arm. Once picked, items are transferred directly to the requesting station by a conveyer belt and it is estimated around 350,000 items will be dispensed by the robot each year.