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Dudley NHS Trust unveils ‘robotically’ enhanced pharmacy service

Image for Dudley NHS Trust unveils ‘robotically’ enhanced pharmacy service
Dudley NHS Trust unveils ‘robotically’ enhanced pharmacy service

27th July 2023 - Press Releases and Statements

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust today celebrated the re-opening of their new and improved pharmacy department based at Russells Hall Hospital.

With an aim to enhance operational efficiencies, the Trust has invested £1.2 million into the unit’s facilities to provide better and improved patient care.

The Trust has always been at the forefront of technology, as one of the first in the country to implement robotic automated pharmacy dispensing back in 2002. After over twenty years of usage and now past its reasonable lifespan, the Trust knew it was time to both invest and innovate once again.

Following an installation period of six months, the project has now been completed with the Pharmacy unit focusing on optimising the new department, its facilities and its equipment to deliver a robust and streamlined service.

Diane Wake, chief executive at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust said, “This investment is a reflection of the Trust’s dedication to supporting its teams in delivering the best possible outcomes for our patients and making the working environment as rewarding as possible for our staff here at Dudley.”

The new dispensing robots offer a much faster dispensing output and utilise the latest engineering developments ensuring patients receive their medication quicker. With triple the amount of workstations able to be utilised by staff, simultaneous prescriptions can now be dispensed.

The system also has automated dispensing cabinets for controlled drugs, which utilise digital authentication via fingerprint recognition for signatures, enhancing security and auditing. The robot also offers remote out-of-hours dispensing, improving emergency medicine supply timeframes and reducing the number of on-call pharmacist site attendances to provide more time to respond to other clinical calls.

The external environment of the Trust’s pharmacy has also been updated with a brand new, brighter dispensary featuring improved lighting to liven up the environment.

All of these combined have propelled the pharmacy department back to being one of the most digitally enhanced pharmacies in the country. The time saved from utilising this technology will help release more of the team to clinical ward-based work, enhancing patient-facing medicines optimisation and support for colleagues across the Trust.

The investment has allowed the department to once again be at the forefront of pharmaceutical technology, attracting talent across the country and continuing to nurture and grow pharmacy professionals by providing the latest technology and digital capabilities.

Ruckie Kahlon, chief pharmacist and director of medicines optimisation at The Dudley Group said, “It’s fantastic to see our new Pharmacy unit up and running and showcasing the innovative technological advances being made in this field.

“Pharmacy is a department with connections to almost all clinical areas of the Trust and is a vital point of call for our patients to ensure they get their medications safely and efficiently. This investment not only delivers for our patients but also showcases the commitment we have here in Dudley to be one of the most technically enhanced Trusts in the country.”

Since January 2023, the department had been operating from a temporary location, with its staff demonstrating resilience, camaraderie and adaptive delivery methods to continue the safe supply of medication to the Trust’s patients and clinics.

The Trust celebrated the opening, inviting staff and visitors from across the Trust to come by and see the new department. As the beating heart of any healthcare setting, the pharmacy department faces immense pressure on a daily basis, but it’s clear that this new technological investment shows the personal investment made for the patients and staff here at Dudley.