Under the name CAELUS, work will be done in Scotland in the coming years to roll out a nationwide drone delivery service for medical goods. The British government has made a subsidy of more than eleven million euros available. The delivery drones will serve islands as well as remote and urban areas.
National drone delivery network
The CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland) consortium comprises sixteen parties, including the University of Strathclyde, the British aviation authority NATS, and NHS Scotland. Together they are developing the first national drone network to transport essential medicines, blood, and other medical supplies across Scotland. The flights are operated by drone operator Skyports.
Since the start of the project in January 2020, drone landing stations have been designed for NHS sites across Scotland and a virtual model (digital twin) has been developed of the target delivery network connecting hospitals, pathology labs, distribution centers, and GP surgeries across Scotland. connects. Thanks to the new subsidy, the infrastructure can be rolled out further.
Guarantee quality of care
Fiona Smith of AGS Airports Group and project leader of CAELUS states that the project is of great importance to be able to continue to guarantee the quality of care in the future, also in remote areas.
“A drone network can help deliver critical medical supplies more efficiently, reduce wait times for test results, and more importantly, ensure equal care between urban and remote rural communities.”
According to Smith, the project will not only involve developing and testing the infrastructure to enable drone delivery but will also focus on public acceptance.
“In addition to operating flights, we are starting to build the infrastructure needed to support the drones across Scotland. This includes building prototype landing bases and digital and communications infrastructure. We will also work with local communities to ensure they understand why and how the drones will be used.”
Improving medical logistics with drone delivery
Hazel Dempsey (innovation NHS) also believes that drone delivery is essential for improving medical logistics.
“Our aim, from an NHS perspective, is to test the use of Drone Technology in urban, rural and remote areas. We want to test whether the use of drones will improve important aspects of our logistics services, such as the transport of laboratory samples, blood products, chemotherapy and medicines. Ultimately, we want to investigate whether drone technology can accelerate the diagnosis and treatment of medical problems.”
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