AN INDEPENDENT Scottish pharmacy has told how its system of using robots has helped in the fight against the pandemic.
John-Paul Mackie, managing director at Mackie Pharmacy, said a move towards automation helped others on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus such as key workers and shift workers gain better access to medicines as people can pick up prescriptions 24 hours a day at a secure dispenser.
Mr Mackie believes the move has helped the business, which has seven branches, reach the last three of the prestigious Independent Pharmacy Awards 2021, with the winner expected to be announced today.
He said: “Right at the beginning (of the pandemic) I looked at automation, and it was three different kinds of robots.
“The first robot is the 24/7 one where you collect your prescription any hour of the day. It was to help protect our team first and foremost because at that stage we didn’t know who bad the pandemic would be.”
He said: “It helps support key workers and shift workers and prevents people clustering in the shop.
“We already had a robot in the Cardonald shop, and we introduced another that makes up weekly pill packs for patients, and it’s the combination of the three types of robot that was the key to it, because when my staff isolated and numbers dropped we were able to keep doing our patient packs, and other pharmacies’, to take the slack from the local network as well, just to keep the show on the road at the time.”
This further supported the additional communities of Bearsden, Drumchapel, Giffnock, Paisley and Shawlands.
Mr Mackie also said the move has had positive impact on workers.
“Staffing levels have gone up rather than down and the team are spending more time with people,” he said.