Hospital robots left with eight hours’ medicine

Nurses are warning that Royal Adelaide Hospital’s new robotic dispensing system is being under-stocked

When the new Royal Adelaide Hospital opened with one of the largest Automated Pharmacy Distribution Systems in the Southern Hemisphere, former SA Health Minister Jack Snelling called the system “one more example of how the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will be leading the way when it comes to providing modern, patient-centred healthcare”.

But according to the Adelaide Advertiser, nurses say the new robots are being stocked with as little as eight hours’ worth of drugs in some cases, putting patient health at risk.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation chief executive officer adjunct Professor Elizabeth Dabars told the Advertiser that the pharmacy stock situation was inefficient as well as posing a risk that patients would not be able to receive medication when they needed it.

“The whole point of the new hospital was to increase efficiency, making sure that people could obtain their treatment as and when they need it,” she said.

She said the problem could be solved by providing the necessary stock, as well as “understanding the devices”.

The medication stock issue is the latest in a series of problems plaguing the new hospital, which was opened on September 5, and its predecessor throughout the transition.

According to Prof Dabars, the new hospital’s automatic lock down system, installed to keep patients safe after hours, has not been operating, with staff having to manually check entrances.

She also says staff lockers are not working correctly and that staff have had to call maintenance workers to access their belongings and case notes.

In September, days after the opening of the new hospital, the Advertiser reported that two pallets of pharmacy documents were left unattended on a loading dock at the old hospital.

“Dozens of boxes” were found by a man going for his morning walk.

The Central Adelaide Local Health Network said at the time that security had been improved and that there was no evidence that documents were missing or that there had been a privacy breach as a result of the incident.

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