An unusual employee at Northwick Park Hospital came to light when the trust trawled though its archives for the NHS’ 70th birthday this summer.
Jeeves the Robot, who even had his own ID card, was employed by the hospital which is now part of the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWUH).
He was responsible for carrying blood samples and medical notes around the hospital in the mid-1990s, with an old photo showing Jeeves in action.
According to trust archives, the five-foot high robot, who was already employed in more than 50 American hospitals, was used to carry out “mundane but unavoidable tasks”.
The archives also revealed that Jeeves was pre-programmed with a map of the hospital, moved at walking speed and immediately stopped if obstructed, before making a polite request for people to step aside.
However it wasn’t meant to be for Jeeves, who sadly did not pass his six-months probation period. However, his modern-day protégé, the Tug, is now widely used in the US to deliver both meals and drugs.
A few people have shared their memories of Jeeves on LNWUH’s Facebook page with one person commenting on how they saw the robot “going around in circles in the main corridor followed swiftly by the engineer” while another recalled how Jeeves “frightened the life out” of her when she saw him coming out of a hospital lift.
The use of robots in hospitals has evolved since the days of Jeeves the Robot.
At Barts Health NHS trust, robot-assisted surgeries have already taken place, thanks to £5.5m funding from the Barts Charity.
While over at the Royal Marsden Hospital, two robots were used at the same time by surgeons to perform a hysterectomy.