Robot capable of dispensing medication in seven seconds to be installed at King’s Lynn hospital

An example of the robot - the Automated Dispensing System (ADS) - which will soon be part of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's pharmacy department. Photo: SUBMITTED.
An example of the robot - the Automated Dispensing System (ADS) - which will soon be part of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's pharmacy department. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Medication is set to be dispensed in just a matter of seconds thanks to a new robotic system coming to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The state-of-the-art robot, worth £600,000, will mean that medication in the hospital’s pharmacy will soon be picked, dispensed and labelled in just seven seconds.

The Automated Dispensing System (ADS) will speed up the dispensary process and is hoped to improve the patient experience by helping them to get home faster.

Work to install the system is due to start this month.

Chief pharmacist Nicola Berns, who has been working with senior project manager AJ Weir on the scheme, said: “We are really excited about the introduction of this exciting new technology and the opportunities it presents.

“The pharmacy robot is going to help speed up the process of dispensing medication, which will make a difference to our colleagues on the wards, but it will also improve the experience for our patients.

“Sometimes patients and their relatives have had to wait for their medication to be dispensed before they can go home.

“However, we are hoping that the new robot will prevent those delays from happening and enable people to get home faster.”

The ADS system, which is comparable to an early computer, also incorporates a conveyor belt system which will be used to dispense discharge prescriptions along with preparing medication for inpatients.

Medication is stored within the main body of the robot and is picked accurately using barcode technology.

As the robot is also to manage a large volume of medication, it will also ensure that the hospital is getting a cost effective use of its stocks.

Medical director Nick Lyons said: “As a forward-thinking hospital, we are always open to new technology and the introduction of a robot in pharmacy is an exciting step forward for us.

“Providing high quality care and a good experience for patients are our top priorities and the launch of the robotic era will support that.

“While it is a significant investment for the trust, it will pay dividends in supporting our staff to provide high quality care to our patients and wider community.”