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NHS hires drug dispensing robots


Laser-guided robots will be used to dispense drugs at a state-of-the-art hospital in Scotland, it has been revealed.

Although their bedside manner may leave something to be desired, the robots, already a common feature in hospitals across the US, France and Japan, will be used to dispense drugs, transport clinical waste and dirty linen and deliver food to patients at the new £300 million Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Stirlingshire.

The hospital has said the robots will free up staff to allow them to spend more time with patients.

Using a network of corridors lined with sensors, the robots will be able to navigate their way to a lift when summoned by health staff via a hand-held personal digital assistant (PDA) system.

NHS Forth Valley spokesman Elspeth Campbell said by splitting the robots to carry out “clean” and “dirty” tasks, the fleet will help with infection control.

She said: “Staff are very pleased. It is exciting to be the first in the UK to do this.

“We know they work well in other hospitals elsewhere in the world. While it is new, we aren’t nervous because we know it is a system that works well.”

Copyright Press Association 2010
Forth Valley Royal Hospital

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