Published on: 14 October 2021

A new state-of-the-art pharmacy has opened at South Tyneside District Hospital featuring a top of the range robot, which automatically dispenses medication at the touch of a button.

The £800,000 project has seen the pharmacy move from an ageing Portakin-style building into a new fit-for purpose department located within the main hospital building.

The change means visitors are now welcomed into a modern, bright and light area as the team prepare their medication, with a consultation room set up to allow for privacy if they need to speak to a pharmacist.

The addition of the robot cuts down dispensing time, meaning that customers will receive their prescription medication quicker. 

The pharmacy also sells a number of over the counter medications, including pain and cold and flu relief as well as veterinary prescriptions

Chief Pharmacist Graeme Richardson said: “The new pharmacy is long overdue and a fantastic facility for those who need to collect a prescription, pick up more general medications or get advice from one of our trained pharmacists. 

“Our previous pharmacy was very outdated and away from our main hospital building. There is no doubt that our new facility will greatly improve the experience for our customers and allow us to continue to expand the services that we offer.”

The project is the result of a partnership with CHoICE Pharmacy, which is part of CHoICE Facilities Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

James Hubbard, Superintendent Pharmacist for CHoICE, said: “We’ve been looking forward to welcoming people to our new pharmacy and we’re delighted it’s now open, it looks fantastic.

“People can expect a high quality and efficient service and we’re also pleased to see the new robot up and running, helping make dispensing quick and easy for our pharmacists.”

The pharmacy is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

It can be accessed through the main Ingham wing entrance of the hospital and is located next to Pathology. 

New signage, including floor stickers, has been included as part of the move to signpost the public to the new pharmacy.

People who visit the hospital’s Emergency Department and outpatients clinics at weekends will now be able to collect prescriptions from their local pharmacy or supermarket. 

This change means that they can access medications closer to home and don’t have to return to the hospital and pay for parking.