Ireland's first robot doctor started working in Dublin's Tallaght Hospital in the past week.

The robot allows a medical specialist to examine a patient in the emergency department from a remote location.

The specialist can speak to the patient, view scans and consult with the medical team.

Tallaght Hospital is using the Remote Presence Robot (RP7) to diagnose strokes quickly, so that clot-busting drugs can be administered within the four-and-a-half hour target time, improving the chances of recovery.

Dr Ronan Collins, Consultant Geriatrician and Stroke Specialist at Tallaght Hospital, said the system is not designed to replace a doctor but to give an emergency department access to specialist advice which may not have been available.

The robot is to be introduced in four other hospitals; Mullingar and Naas will be next to have one, followed by Tullamore and Portlaoise.

The project is part of the HSE's Dublin Mid-Leinster Stroke Network Partnership.