The Ministry of Health, through its agency, National Health Fund (NHF), launched its Mobile Dispensing Unit (MDU) pilot project on Monday (April 16), which will provide prescribed medication at the bedside of patients in public hospitals.
It will involve four facilities – Bustamante Hospital for Children, Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Mandeville Regional Hospital (MRH) and Spanish Town Hospital, which will be equipped with the technologically advanced mobile carts by the end of April.
Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in his remarks at the launch at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St. Andrew, said that the introduction of these units represents a part of the thrust of the Ministry to significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery at the island’s public facilities.
“Between the Ministry and the NHF, as well as the Regional Health Authorities, we are demonstrating that we are committed to embracing and introducing change in the system as long as it will bring about improvements in our service delivery,” he noted.
The serving pharmacist at participating healthcare facilities will dispense drugs from the MDUs upon completion of an assessment of the patient and following discussions with the relevant doctors.
In addition, the pharmacist will provide counselling and instructional guidelines regarding the use of the drugs being dispensed.
For paediatric and some geriatric patients, medication that should be taken at home will be given to a guardian or caregiver; otherwise, the medication would be dispensed at the main pharmacy at the facility or nearest health centre.
The number of MDUs at each hospital will be determined by bed capacity and admission schedules, at an ideal ratio of one mobile cart per 50 patients.
The MDUs will comprise a computer equipped with a Pharmacy Management System, a label printer, scanner and containers for the medication being dispensed.