Robotic pharmacy at Leicester General Hospital - Asteral

Leicester’s robotic transformation

Asteral, the leading vendor independent Managed Equipment Services (MES) provider has installed the third and final robotic pharmacy at the City’s General Hospital.

The new high-tech pharmacy robots, owned and managed by Asteral, have now been installed at pharmacies at the Royal Infirmary, Glenfield and Leicester General Hospital. They are helping to free up staff time to spend more time on wards, instead of running around stockrooms looking for medicines. The robots have also significantly reduced picking errors, as they identify the medicines by their unique barcode. Pharmacy staff then complete a final manual check against the prescription to ensure the right medicines, dose and expiration date goes to the patient.

Measuring a colossal eight metres each, all three robots can work 24/7 finding and dispense up to 720 medicines per hour, as well as store 25,000 packs of medicines.

Commenting on the installation, pharmacy manager at Leicester General, Clare Meakin said “We are extremely pleased with the robotic pharmacy as well as the process that led to its installation. It will allow us to reduce the overall medicines stock holding in the department, make the hospital pharmacy service more responsive and improves the accuracy of medicines that we dispense. We have already noticed that we can handle peak periods of demand far more effectively.”

As well as the benefits of the new equipment, Suzanne Khalid, Chief Pharmacist for University Hospitals of Leicester, was also keen to explain how the MES made planning and implementation much more straightforward: “The business case for the pharmacy was much easier to make and also significantly quicker because it went through an MES. Overall, it allowed us to provide a safer and more efficient service to our patients.”