Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 16:11 UK

Pharmacy at Suffolk hospital uses robot to pick drugs

A pharmacy at a Suffolk Hospital is getting robotic dispensing technology as part of a £1.63m upgrade.

The unit has been built on the site of the old pharmacy store at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

The pharmacy will include a sterile unit to produce chemotherapy as well as inpatient and outpatient dispensaries.

The robotic unit memorises where it has stored up to 20,000 packets of drugs so it can retrieve them quickly and efficiently, the chief pharmacist said.

This will also help with stock control by memorising expiry dates and selecting the medicines with the closest date first to cut waste.

Simon Whitworth, chief pharmacist, said: "As well as improving the speed at which medicines can be dispensed, the robot will also free up huge amounts of staff time which would otherwise need to be spent locating drugs by hand.

"This will mean our pharmacy staff can spend more time on the wards, improving the service we offer to our inpatients."

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