NHS partners with Zipline to expand UK drone medical deliveries to north east region

The UK National Health Service (NHS) is working with healthcare logistics company Apian and drone company Zipline to expand its use of autonomous drones to deliver medical supplies to hospitals, GPs and care homes in Northumberland and North Tyneside from 4Q24.

According to press information, the Zipline delivery system will create a more efficient supply chain for companies like Cleveland Clinic, Pfizer, and Walmart, ensuring facilities have the necessary medical devices and prescriptions in-stock to serve their patients.

Zipline is working with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for providing care to more than 500,000 people across Northumberland and North Tyneside, and Apian to cover a geographically large area of the UK. The programme awaits regulatory approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority before commencing.

Zipline says its drones can be in the air within two minutes of receiving a request, cutting delivery times by hours and allowing for more effective use of distribution services.

Zipline plans to build a hub to supports its operations near the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, Northumberland.

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