Dave Spikey in Bolton’s new robotic dispensing system.
Actor Dave Spikey helps launch Bolton’s new robotic dispensing system.

The Royal Bolton Hospital, part of the Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust, has upgraded its electronic prescribing system to the Ascribe Web Pharmacy system, and invested in a new robotic dispensing system.

To be delivered over three months, the system was launched by Phoenix Nights actor and Bolton resident Dave Spikey.

The web pharmacy application combines medicine management, e-prescribing and the robotic dispensing system, all accessible from any location via the internet.

Pharmacists can access the system from anywhere in the hospital and send instructions to the robot to dispense the necessary drugs, whilst they continue with their rounds.

Using its integrated decision support system, the web pharmacy application also checks a patient’s electronic record and warns pharmacy staff automatically of any dangers, such as dangerous drug interactions or allergic reactions arising from the dispensed medications.

Additionally, the Ascribe pharmacy system links to the pharmacy robot. A bi-directional link to the trust’s Rowa Speedcase Robotic Dispensing unit, allowing pharmacists to both issue requests for prescriptions and receive stock level updates from the robot.

Brian Smith, chief pharmacist at the Royal Bolton Hospital, said: “Our staff have welcomed the additional patient safety features that are embedded within the system and we look forward to extending our pharmacy services beyond the pharmacy itself, thereby saving time and providing a higher level of service to our clinicians and patients.”

The new system allows for a host of ward-based clinical services. Using medicines management – medicines can be ordered wirelessly from the wards – and the electronic prescribing and medicine administration functionality, a complete record of exactly what medication was prescribed, when it was administered to the patient, and what reaction it produced can be noted from any location.

Stephen Critchlow, executive chairman of Ascribe, told E-Health Insider: “The Ascribe Web Pharmacy system offers the NHS many benefits, not least a reduction of errors, an uptake of e-prescribing, more efficiency and decreased waiting and discharge times.

“We are committed to enabling the prescription of the right drugs, at the right time, for the right condition. Technology to enable enterprise wide solutions to integrate with other systems and enable key patient safety targets to be more easily achieved.”