Medication-dispensing robot joins pharmacy team at South Tyneside District Hospital

A new member has joined the team at South Tyneside District Hospital pharmacy – in the form of a new hi-tech robot.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 2:15 pm

Health chiefs say the robot will help cut down dispensing times, meaning customers will receive their prescribed medication more quickly.

After receiving a computerised order, the robot locates and collects the medication from storage trays before carrying and depositing them on a conveyor belt which leads to a dispenser slide and into the hands of the waiting pharmacist.

It is part of a new £800,000 project which has seen the pharmacy move from an ageing portakabin-style building into a new department located within the main hospital building.

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Chief Pharmacist Graeme Richardson and James Hubbard, Superintendent Pharmacist for CHoICE , in front of the control panel for the robot dispenser.

The facility also includes a private consultation room for patients to speak with the pharmacist.

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Chief Pharmacist Graeme Richardson said: “The new pharmacy is long overdue and a fantastic facility for those who need to collect a prescription, pick up more general medications or get advice from one of our trained pharmacists.

“Our previous pharmacy was very outdated and away from our main hospital building. There is no doubt that our new facility will greatly improve the experience for our customers and allow us to continue to expand the services that we offer.”

The new robot will replace the need for pharmacists to have to manually locate and dispense medication.

The project is the result of a partnership with CHoICE Pharmacy, which is part of CHoICE Facilities Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

James Hubbard, Superintendent Pharmacist for CHoICE, said: “We’ve been looking forward to welcoming people to our new pharmacy and we’re delighted it’s now open and it looks fantastic.

“People can expect a high quality and efficient service and we’re also pleased to see the new robot up and running, helping make dispensing quick and easy for our pharmacists.”

The new waiting area at the hospital based pharmacy.

In addition to prescribed medication, the pharmacy also sells a number of over the counter medications, including pain, cold and flu relief as well as veterinary prescriptions.

The new pharmacy is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and can be accessed through the main Ingham Wing entrance of the hospital. New signage, has been included as part of the move to direct the public to the new pharmacy.

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