Major savings in medicines expenditure have been reported by a hospital in North Wales, following the installation of an automated medication cabinet within the operating theatre. The automated system is also improving the accountability of medication use and helping to improve safety.
Many NHS Trusts and health organisations have implemented or considered installing automated medication cabinets into accident and emergency departments and other hospital admission areas and wards. Very few, however, have considered implementation into operating theatres due to concerns regarding gaining rapid access to high-risk critical medicines during anaesthesia.
This paper describes the early experience of implementation into a hospital operating theatre within Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) in North Wales. BCUHB had previously taken an organisational approach to significantly improve the security of medicines storage and accountability of medication use by the wide-scale implementation of automated medication cabinets. Subsequently, it was felt that BCUHB had gained significant experience to consider a trial of such a system within an operating theatre.
BCUHB formed in 2009, merging the existing three NHS Trusts and six local health boards in North Wales. BCUHB is the largest health organisation in Wales, providing a full range of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services across the six counties of North Wales (Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Wrexham).
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