PRESCRIPTIONS will be able to be picked up at any time of the day or night if plans are approved for a pharmacy to install a 24/7 medication ‘vending machine’ in Prestwich.

Prestwich Pharmacy at the Longfield Cente has lodged plans for an automated prescription collection machine at the front of their premises.

The new technology promises to allow patients to ‘simply and securely pick up their medicines when it is convenient for them’.

Qualified pharmacy staff dispense the medicines as normal and then load the bags containing the prescription items securely into the machine using barcode technology.

Patients are told their prescription is ready and provided with a one-time-use-only PIN number which they use to collect the medicine, which the makers of the machines says ‘only takes a few seconds’.

In a statement in support of the planning application, which was registered with Bury Council this week, said: “The benefits to the business is that this is more efficient, reducing queuing time and staff resources while offering more convenience to their customers.

“This will allow us to spend more time with patients who need it and delivering new services, to the benefit of the community.

“In addition, the collection point will also allows us to reduce the need for home deliveries which leads to a reduction in carbon emissions.

“The benefits to the customers are reduced waiting times and allowing the convenience to collect medicines when they want, for example on their way to or from work, shift workers, carers and on Sundays etc.

“This is particularly useful for repeat prescriptions and working patients who are unable to collect prescriptions during opening hours. ”

The technology used will be a Pharmaself24 prescription collection machine.

The company says it is a self-contained, secure, vandal-resistant machine, which is two metres tall and one metre wide.

If planning consent is granted it will be fitted into the shopfront of the pharmacy featuring the business logo, a touch screen, credit card reader and collection flap.

The flap is automatically locked when patients are not collecting the prescriptions.

The machines have a capacity of up to 180 dispensing bags.

Around 100 of the machines have been already been installed in the UK with a rise in demand brought on by the pandemic as they give a contact-free and continuous service.