Lead by The Drone Office, AiResponse have successfully created the first U.K. set of standard operational procedures (SOPs) for routine drone flights between medical centres, in co-design with healthcare end users.

the drone office logo

With the completion of this essential first step (Deliverable 1 of 6) on the road to delivering drone technology to the NHS, AiResponse have established documented operating protocols and solutions to ensure the quality, integrity, and traceability of packages in transit using drone technology in a healthcare setting.

By interviewing representatives of both Milton Keynes University Hospital, and Bedfordshire Hospitals, the SOPs have been created with real healthcare end users in mind, meaning they could be used to support the establishment of drones throughout the NHS in the near future.

The Project

AiResponse logo

AiResponse is a consortium (you can read about its members here) that aims to showcase the advantages of using drone technology to support current U.K. healthcare processes. A user-led project with the express purpose of delivering a first-of-its-kind solution in U.K. healthcare settings, AiResponse will allow for faster, safer, and more economically viable transport solutions for medical supplies and patient samples.

The AiResponse consortium will put the needs of the end-users at the core of the project, involving real healthcare professionals and environments at every stage of the research and testing.

We are privileged to have NHS support with Milton Keynes University Hospital, Bedfordshire Hospitals heavily influencing its direction and outcomes. Their insight into the processes within the NHS will be pivotal for the creation of accurate and usable Processes and SOPs.

NHS AiResponse partners


AiResponse SOPs: An Overview

The Drone Office lead AiResponse SOPs focuses on three core objectives:

Healthcare Practitioners’ Trust

  • Documented operating protocols and solutions to ensure the quality, integrity, and traceability of package
  • Ease of use of technology

Compliance and Safety

  • Aviation Regulations Key agencies ICAO, and in the UK the CAA Civil Aviation Authority
  • Medical and healthcare Good Distribution Practices Key agencies WHO, and in the UK MHRA the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency


  • Framework for flight trials
  • Scalable to routine delivery operations, independently of specific drone solutions or service provider

The creation of these first-of-its-kind SOPs is the vital first step in ensuring the AiResponse drone technology can be delivered safely, compliantly, and efficiently in real-world healthcare settings. With separate SOPs for hospital wide drone integration and day to day usage the SOPs remain easily accessible and contain only the information needed for each specific job role.

Next Steps

With the SOPs now in place, the Consortium’s attention turns to demonstrating drone take-off and landing in real world environments, showcasing the technology that supports the implementation of the newly created SOPs.

These tests are outlined in Deliverables 2 and 3, which will be largely lead by AiResponse consortium members, HEROTECH8:

  • Deliverable 2: Demonstrate intra-site usage with a test flight showcasing automatic take off and precision landing in a real-life environment.
  • Deliverable 3: Demonstrate inter-site usage with a test flight showcasing automatic take off and precision landing between two real life environments.

For a full overview of the AiResponse project, visit the main project webpage here.

For up-to-date information about the AiResponse project, make sure you’re following Intelsius on LinkedIn and Twitter looking out for the public release of SOPs regarding drone usage within the NHS in late September.

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