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The National Health Fund has launched the pilot of its Mobile Dispensing Unit, which is a secure trolley equipped with a computer, pharmacy software, label and receipt printer, as well as containers for commonly prescribed medication, to provide ‘bed side’ medication distribution service to patients on the wards of public hospitals island wide.

The NHF’s Mobile Dispensing Unit programme was launched at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Kingston on Monday, April 16.

In his address, Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Fund, Everton Anderson said the introduction of the Mobile Dispensing Units marked a significant milestone for pharmacy services in Jamaica, with computer-based technology being used to improve processes, protocols and medical service to patients.

“With these Mobile Dispensing Units will come major changes in operations at the island’s public hospitals. The clinical pharmacists will now participate in the ward rounds by providing information on the medication prescribed; promoting the use of the medication on the NHF’s list of Vital. Essential and Necessary (VEN List) medications and providing bedside counselling for patients before they leave for home. There will also be a significant reduction in waiting time at the hospital pharmacies, as medication will be dispensed on demand at each patient’s bedside,” he said.

Mr. Anderson also noted that when fully implemented, the Mobile Dispensing Unit programme will result in significant benefits – not only to patients who will be the direct beneficiaries – but to the island‘s health institutions, by reducing waste, improving efficiency and achieving improved standards of patient care.

Speaking at the launch event, Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton commended the NHF on its innovative approach to patient care in the public hospitals.

He said the Mobile Dispensing Unit would enhance the capacity of the medical staff to more efficiently administer care to patients in hospitals.

“This Mobile Dispensing Unit will enhance each hospital’s capacity to deliver better patient care, while enabling health care providers to administer quality and efficient service in a manner that requires very little effort on the patients’ part,” Minister Tufton said.

The pilot programme will see units being available initially at four hospitals, namely Bustamante Hospital for Children, Kingston Public Hospital, Mandeville Regional Hospital and Spanish Town Hospital.

Controlled by the hospitals’ pharmacists, the trolleys will allow for the dispensing of medication on the wards each day and on the patients’ departure from the institutions.

Senior Medical Officer at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr. Michelle-An Richards-Dawson, expressed gratitude to the National Health Fund, for the development and implementation of the Mobile Dispensing Unit.

She noted that the health providers at BHC were very excited to see the unit being implemented as they see it as a method to improve the quality of care they offer to patients.

“It is a pleasure to see the Mobile Dispensing Unit being rolled out this morning. This unit will help us to dispense medication in the shortest possible time, cutting down on delays and improving the level of service our in-patients receive,” Dr. Dawson said.

In addition to dispensing medication, the MDU will ensure that discharged patients receive counseling and guidelines on the importance of adhering to the usage instructions on each package.

For more information contact:  Shermaine Robotham

Health Promotion &P.R Manager, NHF (906-1106)

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