A new prescription vending machine gives patients at Sunderland Royal Hospital a 24/7 service – here’s how it works


The new machine offers 24/7 service at the push of a button and has been installed in the hospital’s main entrance after South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust decided to bring the technology to life. ‘test.

The Pharmaself24 has been piloted by around 100 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and after the 12 month trial and the positive feedback, the system is expected to be used by other patients such as those treated by the renal department of the hospital.

A patient who has signed up for the service will receive a message that their supply is ready to be collected before being given a six-digit PIN to access the machine.

James Hubbard is the Chief Superintendent Pharmacist of City Hospitals Independent Commercial Enterprises Ltd (CHOICE), which manages pharmacy services for the Trust.

After answering a series of questions, similar to an in-person pharmacy visit to make sure the medicine is right for them, a robotic arm inside picks up the prescription, drops the ready-to-use medicine into a chute and into a drawer to pick it up.

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The team also plans to add more machines, which dispense medication as it would be presented at the counter, in other locations.

The secure machines are being used by some community pharmacies, but the Trust believe this is the first in the UK to have one installed in a hospital.

Sunderland Royal Hospital has become the first in the country to install a vending machine which allows patients to access their prescription drugs 24/7 with just the press of a few buttons.

James Hubbard, Chief Superintendent Pharmacist for City Hospitals Independent Commercial Enterprises Ltd (CHOICE), said: “We are delighted to be the first hospital in the country to use new technology to enable our patients to collect their prescriptions around the clock. and 7 days a week.

“The machine complements the weekday service we offer from our outpatient pharmacy, but gives our patients more choice and flexibility in when they want to pick up their prescriptions.

“Technology and medicine are constantly advancing and it is important that we keep up with these changes and consider how we can improve our patient experiences. After the trial is successful, we hope to be able to install more machines at our other Trust sites. »

CHoICE Superintendent Pharmacist James Hubbard loads a prescription into the back of the prescription vending machine

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