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Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Doctors, nurses and their teams can now send medication and samples across our hospital faster than ever before following a £180,000 upgrade of the pneumatic ‘whoosh tube’ delivery system.
£180,000 upgrade for quicker ward deliveries
08 April 2017

Doctors, nurses and their teams can now send medication and samples across our hospital faster than ever before following a £180,000 upgrade of the pneumatic ‘whoosh tube’ delivery system.

The hospital has replaced its existing equipment, most of which was more than 10 years’ old, with the latest state-of-the-art technology. Similar to the pneumatic systems seen in supermarkets, it uses air suction and pressure to send carriers along a network of tubes to specific wards or departments, such as the pharmacy or pathology lab.

The whoosh tube can securely direct drugs or samples from one end of the hospital to the other in just two minutes or less, saving a significant amount of time for staff who would otherwise need to transport them by hand.

The new system also includes a robotic linear coupler, which automatically manages the way the carriers are distributed while increasing the system’s capacity by around 400%. Ipswich is thought to be the first hospital in the UK to introduce the technology.

Mark Finch, capital projects manager at the hospital, said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to introduce this state-of-the-art technology, which is already bringing faster communication to all of our clinical areas.

“The whoosh tube system sends medication and samples around the hospital quickly, efficiently and securely, and will save a huge amount of staff time which would otherwise be spent transporting them manually.

“The linear coupler technology will also bring several other time-saving benefits. For example, it will return the carrier pods automatically to their specific clinical area, which means that staff no longer need to manually type in a destination. It has also significantly increased our capacity, and is allowing us to transport up to 25 carriers around the hospital at any one time, compared with just five with our old system.

“This is great news for both our clinicians and our patients, who are able to receive test results, samples and medication more quickly.”

The system has been installed by Aerocom UK Ltd, with all of the work carefully planned to minimise any disruption to clinical areas.