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Robotic pharmacy kiosk piloted in rural Scotland

The "revolutionary" kiosk is part-funded by the Scottish government and allows patients to access pharmacy services from a village post office

A remote Aberdeenshire village is trialling a £150,000 robotic pharmacy kiosk that connects patients with a pharmacist via webcam.

The kiosk was installed in a post office in the village of Inverallochy as part of a University of Aberdeen research project. It enabled patients to speak to a pharmacist in a nearby town, the university said.

The "revolutionary" project aimed to give "disadvantaged" rural communities access to pharmacy services by allowing them to remotely deposit prescriptions and pick up dispensed and over-the-counter medication, the university said. Patients could also receive Scotland's national pharmacy minor ailments service via the webcam, it said.

The kiosk had taken four years to develop and had been trialled in the post office for more than four weeks, Christine Bond, chair in general practice and primary care at the university, told C+D. The project would continue until the end of August, and had the potential to be replicated in other remote locations such as oil rigs, she said.

“A lot of places in England and Scotland can’t justify having their own pharmacy and they often don’t have a doctor either,” Professor Bond told C+D. “I really wanted to use some sort of digital technology to help people access pharmacy services.”

An "element of privacy"

The kiosk – joint funded by the Scottish government and technology company Atos – was kept behind a curtain and away from the main shopping area of the post office to maintain an "element of privacy", the university said.

Professor Bond said the research project would face a "number of hurdles" before it became a "viable solution" for rual communities. But the technology had the potential to scan patients' prescription barcodes in the future, she added.

How could a similar kiosk benefit people in your community?

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