The hospital is using a new robot to boost productivity and a cancer patient recently received a treatment made by this robot.

Robots are making their move into the medical sector, as the Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute at St James’s Hospital is now using a robot to make chemotherapy drugs.

The Institute said this compounding robot can supply cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs more efficiently and safely, to boost productivity at the hospital and improve the experience for patients. The Institute also claims St James’s is the first hospital in the UK or Ireland to have a robot conducting this task.

Chemotherapy is traditionally produced using a manual process carried out in pharmacy departments, which requires measurements of doses overseen by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The Institute said this process comes with a risk of human error and a need for high levels of quality assurances and verifications, which can lead to repetitive strain injuries and burnout among staff.

Meanwhile, the Aseptic Compounding Unit at St James’s Hospital claims to be the busiest in the country, producing 30,000 products annually. It is hoped that the new robot can support rising demand as cancer rates are expected to grow.

“This is a major step forward for our staff and our cancer patients at the hospital,” said St James’s Hospital pharmacy director Gail Melanophy. “We aim to produce up to 50pc of the oncology/haematology day ward’s chemotherapy needs within weeks of introduction and we hope this will significantly increase when at full capacity, including inpatient needs.

“This will free up time for our pharmacists to produce other products that the robot does not make and ensure that our valued patients never have to wait for their treatments.”

The first patient received their treatment made by the new robot at the Institute yesterday (11 April) on the hospital campus. This patient – Liz Hogan – said she noticed “no difference” when receiving her chemotherapy dose.

The Institute said 13 of the most commonly used cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs used at St James’s Hospital have been initially selected to be produced by the robot. The funds for the new robot were raised by the St James’s Hospital Foundation.

In 2022, Irish robotics start-up Akara brought one of its healthcare robots to the UK and claimed this decontamination robot reduced room downtime in critical parts of a hospital by more than 60pc, allowing more medical procedures to take place.

Leigh Mc Gowran
This article originally appeared on and can be found here