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Review of automated technology in Scotland community pharmacies to end this month

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Use of robotic process automation and automated medicine storage systems trailed in pilot pharmacies 

The Scottish government is planning to publish its review report on use of automated technology in community pharmacies by the end of 2023.

The technology being trialled as part of the pilot includes robotic process automation, automated medicine storage systems, barcode scanners and prescription collection kiosks.

The evaluation, which started prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to be completed at the end of November 2023.

Patricia Findlay, professor of work and employment relations at the University of Strathclyde, who was commissioned to produce the report, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the pilot pharmacies taking part in the scheme are all based in Scotland, but she didn’t reveal their names.

As informed by Findlay, the research was paused during the pandemic as pharmacies had to respond to the new public health context and take on additional roles.

“The current phase of the research is updating information from the pilot pharmacies to cover the pre-pandemic period until now,” she told the publication.

Automation and robotics solutions are expected to streamline dispensing operations of the pharmacies and free up their time to deliver clinical services.

Speaking to the Journal, Adam Osprey, policy and development pharmacist at Community Pharmacy Scotland, acknowledged that “new ways of working” are needed to address workforce challenges.

He is looking forward to the Scottish government report that would help their members “better understand which investments will provide the biggest gains in efficiency.”

Paper prescriptions and associated electronic prescription messages would soon come to an end in Scotland.

To bring this change, investment is being made in a digital prescribing and dispensing programme, the Journal reported quoting a government spokesperson.

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