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Forth Valley Royal Hospital to Use First Robots

A hospital in Scotland is set to become the first in the UK to use robots to carry out tasks.

The project developers have said that the machines will be responsible for moving bedding, food trays and waste products as well as dispensing drugs to patients.

Final tests are currently being carried out on the new system ahead of the August opening of the new £300m Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire.

Managers have been quick to say that the robots would not replace humans, but are intended to simply free up more time for staff to spend with patients. A human will always be on standby in case any robots were to breakdown.

The robots will have their own dedicated network of corridors underneath the hospital.

Ian Mullen the NHS Forth Valley chairman said the new hospital would be "packed full of design features to improve patient care and improve the life of staff".

He continued: "Members of staff will use a hand-held PDA to call up the robot to move meal trays, or linen, or whatever.

"The robot will come up in the service lift by itself, pick up the item and go back into the lift."

Tom McEwen, the project manager for manufacturer Serco, said a series of pre-programmed routes would be set out for the robots to follow.

"The robots will follow the sytem using a series of laser beams which will tell it exactly where it is," he said

The robots will be equipped with sensors to ensure that they do not crash into anything as they make their way around the hospital.

One of the major advantages of the robots, according to the hospital, is that they should seriously reduce the risk of spreading infection.

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