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), effective prescribing are significant. IBSL (UK) Limited and Santa Lucia Pharma Apps SrL (IBSL), with support from EMAHSN and Loughborough University, have deployed a unit dose closed loop medicines management solution in 4 wards at UHL and undertaken an 18 month evaluation of the project (OptiMed-ID). OptiMed-ID is an innovation unique in the UK, using robotic technology and logistics software to deliver individual doses of medication within hospitals.

It allows complete control of medicine prescribing, supply and administration by reducing errors and cutting waste. It is already delivering big savings in 20 hospitals in Italy, it has been evaluated in Leicester and confirmed as being able to deliver drugs cost savings in an acute NHS trust of over 15%. The project is currently in 4 wards at UHL, a trust-wide deployment is planned which is expected to reduce errors and deliver annual savings of at least £2m.


Acute NHS trusts provide services for many thousands of patients; a lot are frail and elderly or have co-morbidities needing complex combinations of medicines. It is a challenge for staff to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time – it can result in a lot of waste and a risk to patient safety from mistakes in the combination or quantity of medicines prescribed.

The NHS spends over £7bn every year on medicines in hospitals, there for the potential savings from more effective prescribing are significant. 

What’s the impact?

  • A 71% reduction in medicines wastage at the UHL, along with a 25% reduction in the consumption (and costs) of medicines and a 55% reduction in the number of items held in the ward stock cupboards
  • Missed doses due to medicine not available on wards were cut from 10% to just 1.2% 
  • If the system is rolled out across all inpatient wards at the trust (currently 1790 beds and 14,000 staff across three sites) the medicine-related cost savings, based upon an average reduction of only 15%, would be £4.1m per year
  • 6 full time jobs have been created by IBSL (UK) Ltd
  • Shortlisted a HSJ Value in Healthcare Award 2017

What’s next?

We are supporting an expansion of the innovation within UHL and are working with the partners to secure Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and other regulatory approvals. We will continue to promote this innovation to other acute NHS trusts within and beyond the East Midlands.

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.

View a summary of the unit dose medicines soultion in 30 seconds here:

Watch the OptiMed project video here by UHL