Bellvitge Hospital launches a new Pharmacy Service with state-of-the-art technology

- Facilities

This completes the hospital's techno-surgical building, which is furnished with highly complex equipment

These new facilities, which triple the previous space, cover 1,750 m² and perform more than 160,000 dispensations per month

Bellvitge University Hospital’s (HUB) Pharmacy Service has completed its relocation to a new spot within this medical centre. Now it has three times the space it had in its previous location. Moreover, the Service is fully adapted to the new healthcare requirements from a logistical, safety and technological point of view.

The new facilities, which take around 1750 m2, are located on floor 1 (modules A and B) of the techno-surgical building. They complete the equipment of a key element in the Bellvitge Hospital transformation.

As Dr Ramón Jódar, head of the Pharmacy Service, points out, “we have just completed a relocation and now we are in the midst of adapting to technological change. The new computer systems and integrations are being implemented in parallel with the redefinition of circuits. This involves improving the quality of all processes, and especially the internal dispensing circuits, which are becoming much more planned thanks to robotisation and the integration of computer systems”. 

Module A houses the new fully automated warehouse with a 3-line horizontal carousel with large storage capacity and four vertical carousels (one of which is refrigerated) to meet the hospital's needs: about 900 orders per month from pharmaceutical laboratories and more than 160,000 dispensations per month distributed in different modalities. This module also houses the administrative team’s work areas and the medicine reception area run by the team's orderlies. 

The other new Pharmacy Service’s large block is located in module B, where the outpatient dispensing area is located, fully robotised and with a scheduling for around 150 patients per day. This area dispenses the medicines included in the HMOD programmes (Hospital Medication for Outpatient Dispensing). The HMOD dispensing area also dispenses other items such as medication used in day hospitals and home enteral nutrition. This whole activity accounts for some 6,000 dispensations per month. The rest of module B includes a large, separate area for proper clinical-trial sample management, as well as the pharmacists' offices, the work areas and the clinical classroom.

The new clean rooms will allow the development of new drug therapies
It is worth mentioning the new clean room facilities, which occupy an area of around 160 m² distributed between the two modules. It is a single-access space, sectorised and differentiated according to the technical and technological requirements necessary to comply with good clinical practice. Both sterile and non-sterile drugs are prepared there and there are differentiated rooms with specific safety cabins according to whether the drug to be prepared is classified as hazardous or not. There is also a room dedicated to the repackaging of hazardous drugs.

It is a controlled environment, with several degrees of sterility and pressures, equipped to deal with new pharmacological therapies such as gene therapies, platelet-rich plasma or therapies with transporter viruses for which some preparations are already being made. Currently, most of the activity is aimed at meeting the usual daily needs for parenteral nutrition preparation, intravenous mixtures, formulas adapted to specific requirements that cannot be obtained commercially and other common preparations. More than 1,000 formulations per month are being prepared for hospitalised patients, more than 800 bags per month of parenteral nutrition for an average of 50-55 hospitalised patients and around 400 bags per month for patients included in home parenteral nutrition programmes.

The core of the hospital's most complex services
In 2012, construction work was completed on the techno-surgical building at Bellvitge University Hospital. It consisted of nearly 43,000 m² of floor space, which has been housing the centre's most complex equipment and services all along different phases.

November 2014 saw the inauguration of the first techno-surgical block’s device: the new HUB’s Emergency Department, equipped with 64 boxes spread over 6,000 m². This was followed by the Day Hospital; the neurophysiology cabinets and the Multiple Sclerosis Unit (2015); the Major Outpatient Surgery Unit (2016); the Non-Invasive Cardiology Unit, the Vascular Diagnostics Laboratory; seven new operating theatres for major outpatient surgery; the sterilisation sub-centre and the Respiratory Functional Exploration Laboratory (2017); the new endoscopy cabinets (2018); the new surgical block of the hospital, with 24 operating theatres (2019) and the new ICU modules, between April 2020 - when they were urgently enabled to respond to the first wave of the pandemic - and December of that same year, when the equipment and services of these new modules were completed.

Dr Montserrat Figuerola, manager of the Southern Metropolitan Territorial Management of the Catalan Health Institute (ICS), stresses, “With the transfer of the Pharmacy Service, carried out together with the transfer of the ICU, we have completed the equipping of the techno-surgical building. Due to the pandemic, this has been done with some added complexity”. 

Besides that, she also highlights that the connection of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) -located on the first floor of the techno-surgical unit- with the new Delta building, built to respond to the pandemic, “will become a pattern for the hospital’s new phase 3 constructions”.