Wing to deliver medical supplies to south Dublin hospitals

2 Jul 2024

Image: Wing

Blackrock Clinic and St Vincent’s Private Hospital will receive medical supplies such as sutures, surgical tools and heart valve repair products by drone.

Wing, the drone delivery company owned by Google parent Alphabet, will start drone deliveries of medical supplies and devices to and from two Dublin hospitals soon.

The company announced today (2 July) that the first drone deliveries will be received by Blackrock Clinic and St Vincent’s Private Hospital, both in south Dublin, in the coming days.

Items that will be delivered by drone include sutures, surgical tools and heart valve repair products, with plans to expand to pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) in the future.

Wing has also struck a partnership with Medtronic that will see it deliver the medtech company’s ingestible camera, PillCam.

The drone delivery company first teamed up with UK-based healthcare logistics company Apian in August last year to provide medical drone deliveries in Ireland. The idea was to work with hospitals and pharmacies in south Dublin to create a “rapid medical delivery network”.

Now, Wing says the latest deal with Blackrock Clinic and St Vincent’s Private Hospital will be Ireland’s first ongoing medical device delivery service by drone.

The company hopes that drone deliveries can provide a faster and more climate-friendly alternative to on-road deliveries by avoiding traffic in congested urban areas such as south Dublin and flying in a straight line towards the delivery location.

“The use of drones in medical logistics presents an exciting opportunity to get our life-saving technologies to the people who need them quicker than ever before,” said Kristian Howells, group commercial director at Medtronic.

“Traditional supply chains have limitations that the inclusion of drones may help to overcome. What we learn from this pilot programme will help us to create more resilient supply chains that are patient focused.”

Wing has had an Irish presence since 2022, targeting the same market as Bobby Healy’s Manna Drone Delivery. In October 2022, Wing confirmed Dublin’s Lusk as the location for a “small-scale demonstration” of its drone delivery operation in Ireland.

Healy has previously told that he not only welcomes some competition from Wing, but also hails the company as “the gold standard in our industry”.

“They have a platform that’s way ahead of everyone, a team that has the ability and capital to really go forward and they’re ready to scale,” he said last July. “They’ll be held back in the US, just because regulations aren’t there yet. But I think you can safely say that it will be Manna and Wing scaling in Europe in the not-too-distant future.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic