Optimed Drugs Trolley“The Optimed–ID pilot is a first for the UK. With EMAHSN backing we hope to extend this innovative solution which enables improvements in patient safety and reduction in medicines waste using unit dose medicines and bar code assisted medicines administration, across the East Midlands and beyond.”

Graeme Hall - Deputy Chief Pharmacist, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust


Unit Dose Closed Loop Medicines Solutions use robotic technology and logistics software to produce and deliver individual doses of medication. This enables complete control of medicine prescribing, supply and administration - reducing medication errors, cutting waste and delivering big savings.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) wanted to revolutionise dispensing and tracking of medication by introducing innovative, internationally-proven technology. The trust ran a pilot project called OptiMed-ID, assisted by EMAHSN and evaluated by Loughborough University in 2015.


5.6% of adult inpatient administrations are prescribed in error – with up to 2% of errors result in major consequences for the patient and their families. Source: McLeod, M. C., Barber, N., & Franklin, B. D. (2013).

England’s 214 trusts spend £6bn on hospital-related medication expenditure each year. Managing the medicines logistic chain is extremely complex and there are weaknesses in existing systems resulting in wasted medicines, poor stock control, staff inefficiencies and reduced patient safety.

UHL is the UK’s fourth largest trust and many patients are frail and elderly or have co-morbidities requiring complex medicines regimes. A full deployment is expected to deliver savings of at least £3.8m every year.

What’s the impact?

The health economics study showed a:
  • 25% reduction in the consumption (and costs) of medicines
  • 40% reduction in the number of items held in ward stock cupboards
  • 29% reduction in the number of items re-supplied as a result of lost or misplaced medication
  • 52% reduction in the number of items supplied to inpatients through the dispensary
  • 60% reduction in medicines wastage
  • reduction in missed doses due to medication not being available, down from a trust average of 10% to 1.2% on pilot wards

Other impacts:
  • Reduction in pharmacy time spent on supply chain activities, freeing up pharmacists’ time
  • Nurses felt more confident that patients were being given the right medicines
  • Improved medicines adherence and reduced risk of medicine errors
  • 6 full time UK jobs have been created by IBSL (UK) Ltd, the UK partner of Italian supplier Santa Lucia Pharma Apps SRL

What’s next?
  • A business case for Trust-wide roll out across UHL could start during 2016
  • IBSL (UK) Ltd is developing plans for investment in a unit dose laboratory in the East Midlands to service NHS trusts
  • EMAHSN is working to support uptake of unit dose closed loop medicines solutions across the region and nationally

Further resources and information

A detailed pdfunit dose solution case study based on the health economics report which provides the reasons and evidence for implementing unit dosing systems across the NHS.

Market Opportunity Review has been produced about unit dosing closed loop medicines management solutions in the East and West Midlands. It provides a summary of the opportunity for all relevant stakeholders presented by the widespread adoption of unit dosing closed loop medicines management solutions across the East and West Midlands region.

pdfHealth economics project evaluation report from Loughborough University.

Watch the OptiMed project video here by UHL