Robot-powered digital pharmacy to open in Liverpool

A robot-powered digital pharmacy is to open in Liverpool, aimed at helping people with chronic conditions get medicines delivered for free using the AI mobile app, Now Patient.

The £1.5m project will create around 30 jobs in the city, which has been highlighted as having some of the most deprived health districts in the UK.

The pharmacy run by Now Patient, developed by Now Healthcare Group, will be able to dispense around 500,000 prescriptions per month using the latest robotic distribution technology.

The NHS-approved telepharmacy “super-hub” aims to revolutionise services for those who have suffered through recent community pharmacy cuts and have difficulty accessing their medications.

The Now Patient app was created to enable up to 15 million people living with long-term health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and lung disease, to get free delivery of their repeat NHS prescriptions across Liverpool – and the rest of the UK.

The robot used in Liverpool is the latest specification and speeds up the dispensing process by selecting the correct products via box size, not name or label.

NHS chronic care patients can nominate Now Patient as their NHS pharmacy to get free delivery of their repeat prescriptions nationwide.

Now Healthcare Group has agreed a contract with the NHS to ensure they deliver the same quality service for the whole of England. The app is free to download and available on iOS and Android.

There has been a huge demise in high street pharmacies – since January 2017, pharmacy chain Lloyds has shut and sold off more than 190 branches amid cuts in funding from the government.

Figures uncovered earlier this year by the website Chemist and Druggist showed that 156 pharmacies have closed between April 2016 and April 2018.

The government’s plan cut funding by 4% in 2016-17 and 3.4% in 2017-18, when the pharmacy budget was £2.592 billion.

Now Healthcare Group was founded by Lee Dentith who established the business when he could not get a GP appointment for his son.

As a result he set about creating technology to enable GP appointments from mobile phones, which is one of the company’s offerings.

Lee Dentith, founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group said: “The NHS is evolving, and digital innovation is crucial to offering patients quality care and choice. 15 million people in the UK are suffering with chronic conditions, and Now Patient enables them to be empowered to manage their own healthcare needs and to reduce the strain on our country’s overstretched health services.”

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