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Pioneering specialist medication automation cabinets brings efficiency and financial savings across emergency care, theatres and admission units at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.

Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital based in Cramlington, opened in 2015 and is the first purpose-built hospital in the country to have emergency medicine consultants on site 24/7, and specialist consultants in a broad range of conditions working seven days a week. After a successful 18-month trial of Omnicell’s systems in two North East general hospitals, a total of 24 medication automation cabinets are now in use across various departments including emergency care and theatres.

Following the success of the project, another seven medication cabinets have been installed across Northumbria Healthcare hospitals. The Omnicell systems allow clinical staff to order, manage and control the usage of medicines, whilst ensuring patient safety and more time for face to face patient care. The Omnicell systems are being integrated with MedChart (the hospital’s ePMA system), which is the next step in the Trust’s medicines management strategy.

The goals of implementation were to:

  • Automate the ordering of medicines due to no on site pharmacy department.
  • Reduce average drug spend per patient, waste and stock.
  • Reduce risk of administrator errors improving safety.
  • Reduce nursing, medical and pharmacy staff time spent looking for medicine cupboard keys.
  • Automation of ‘top-up’ ordering, storing, rotating and organising medicines.
  • Reduce inaccurate, ad-hoc ordering leading to risk of stock outs, omitted doses and treatment delays or over-stocking.
  • Implement audit trail of medicines use once supplied by pharmacy.

Benefits realised since implementing Omnicell automated cabinets:

  • Department nursing time savings equating to £7,000.
  • Reduction in drug spend of 6% per patient.
  • Stock out has fallen from 22% to 6%.
  • £30,000 annual drug efficiency saving.
  • Omnicell systems have improved patient care and medicines management by utilising patient safety features such as dispensing alerts for allergies, NPSA alert compliance and antibiotic stewardship.

Lauraine Gibson, Matron ED and Discharge Lounge at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust commented, "Without a doubt the greatest benefit has been seen in nurse time savings, with staff no longer wasting time searching for keys or medicines. These time savings which have been re-directed into front line patient care are both invaluable and rewarding for nurse and patient alike."

Consultation has concluded