Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) has announced the completion of a new purpose-built pharmacy at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.
Following a £4 million investment, the new hospital pharmacy includes temperature-controlled environments, and hosts state of the art equipment including two robots which handle the safe storage, rotation, and dispensing of medications. There has also been investment in technology to allow for the tracking of medicines through pharmacy and onto the wards.
The robot automatically generates stock order replacements and can be accessed by pharmacists from home to dispense emergency drugs out of hours, allowing specialist pharmacy staff to spend more time directly supporting patients and colleagues.
Allowing the automation of some key stock management processes means that the safety of patients is easier to manage, as medicine stock is rotated by date and out-of-date medications are automatically dispensed separately to be safely disposed of. It also means that medications for patients being discharged can be dispensed much quicker, enabling a smoother experience for patients going home.
This investment is part of the trust’s commitment to continuing to develop and improve the health and care services at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester. Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust runs hospitals in Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester.
Nichola Jones, chief pharmacist at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “We are incredibly excited to officially open the doors to our new pharmacy in Winchester, and I am really proud of the whole team who made this happen and dealt with the challenges the pandemic brought to this project head on.
“As well as the many benefits to our patients, we are delighted to also have improved training workspaces – enabling us to better support students and staff with face-to-face and digital learning.”
Alex Whitfield, chief executive at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “We are really excited that we are able to see this improved facility in action. The new pharmacy is part of our ongoing investment in the future of our hospital in Winchester. It has improved the environment for our pharmacists to work in and enabled us to bring state-of-the art technology to the trust.
“So much work went into the plans for the department, and I want to say a big thank you to all the teams involved. They managed to move the whole pharmacy across the hospital site, while keeping a full service open for our patients and staff.”
A grand opening of the new pharmacy took place on Friday 15 October, allowing staff and stakeholders the chance to look behind the scenes at the new home for pharmacy services in Winchester through guided tours and demonstrations of the robots that have revolutionised the pharmacy operation at Hampshire Hospitals.
Steve Brine, Member of Parliament for Winchester, who opened the new facility added: “I am so pleased to see the trust deliver this new build, which brings to life the original plans drawn up to improve the previous dated facility. It was a real pleasure to cut the ribbon on the new robot that sits at the heart of the whole operation, and to meet some of the team – who are so obviously energised by their new working environment.
“From my time as pharmacy minister, I know the impact of hospital pharmacy services and their role in making the health and care system function. HHFT have used wisely the funding we were able to secure from Government.”