York & North Yorkshire

Robot pharmacy 'improves safety' at Harrogate hospital

A robotic pharmacy has reduced medicine mistakes and helped save money at a North Yorkshire hospital, according to hospital bosses.

Managers at Harrogate Hospital said the £200,000 automated pharmacy had shaved thousands of pounds off the hospital's drugs stock bill in its first year.

They said the system had freed up staff time to spend with patients and made the drugs dispensing process quicker.

Robot manager Kevin Bradley said it had revolutionised the department's work.

He added: "It's made us much more flexible in the way that we can provide our service to the rest of the hospital."

The robotic unit memorises where it has stored drugs packets so it can retrieve them quickly and efficiently.

When the prescription comes into the pharmacy, a member of pharmacy staff types in the details of the medicine required which the robot then picks and takes via a conveyor belt down and chute and into a tray.

Pharmacy director Andrew Alldred said the automated system had reduced the dispensing error rate by about 30%.

He added it had reduced by half the time taken to dispense and discharge prescriptions, therefore enabling patients to be discharged from hospital quicker.

"Robotic systems are becoming standard in the NHS," he said.

"They improve the efficiency of patient services with really significant benefits to patients."

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