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Good, better, bots

The Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital now have the help of robotics when it comes to dispensing.

For many people, the automatic association of robots in pharmacy is job loss in pharmacy, but Richard Marshall, lead pharmacy technician for procurement at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says otherwise. The Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital make use of dual systems with moving arms which pick from around
12,000 items.

“Everyone thinks systems like these take people’s jobs, but the pharmacy staff has grown, if anything. Instead of having people constantly picking all of these things manually, they can be out at the patients’ bedsides, checking their take-home medicines, checking what they brought in and providing advice on how to get the best out of their medication.”

The robots are ‘activated’ when a label is printed, and are then prompted to pick up the prescription which is carried onto a conveyor belt for collection. The system cleverly directs the robots to select the shortest-date products first, hence reducing waste.

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