COMMERCIAL: University Hospitals of Leicester Trust is to adopt a hi-tech medicines management system which will use robots to pack individual drug doses.

This will be connected to a system of bar codes to help ensure patients receive the correct medicines.

A trust spokeswoman said the new system, provided by Italian company Ingegneria Biomedica Santa Lucia, would reduce errors and wastage in dispensing medication.

The system will initially be tested on four renal wards at Leicester General Hospital, one of the trust’s three main sites, before a wider roll out.

Graeme Hall, the trust’s deputy chief pharmacist, said: “The way NHS hospitals currently manage and distribute medication has inherent problems.  This new partnership came about after a review of the system successfully deployed in Italian hospitals.

“The project will initially test the benefits in a UK setting on four renal wards at Leicester General Hospital, with the intention of rolling-out the process across the rest of our large university teaching hospital sites.”

The project is to be wholly funded by Ingegneria Biomedica Santa Lucia.

A laboratory where drug doses will be dispensed is to be opened on 28 January at Leicester General Hospital, with operations commencing on 2 February.

University Hospitals of Leicester delivers the vast majority of acute services in the city of Leicester and surrounding Leicestershire county region.

It also provides a number of nationally significant heart, cancer and renal services.