Serco targets service delivery

03/11/2014 - 16:08

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Learning how to operate and work with food delivery robots, new cleaning technology and interactive patient entertainment systems will be just part of the process for 1,000 new Fiona Stanley Hospital workers.

Serco targets service delivery
THE FUTURE: Adrian Kloeden says Serco will implement a number of innovative services at the Fiona Stanley Hospital. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Learning how to operate and work with food delivery robots, new cleaning technology and interactive patient entertainment systems will be just part of the process for 1,000 new Fiona Stanley Hospital workers.

The training is part of a massive recruitment process costing up to $1.3 billion over a 10-year contract period to supply a range of non-clinical services that will grow Serco’s employees by a third to 3,000 people.

More than 9,000 people have signed up to Serco’s database in the past 18 months, and 300 people have been hired so far to work in Western Australia’s newest hospital, which is expected to be fully operational by March next year.

Serco chairman Adrian Kloeden told Business News the contract required Serco to deliver a number of innovative services in the hospital.

Among them is a range of automatic guided vehicles, which will move themselves from the kitchen to wards to deliver freshly cooked food to the whole hospital within 45 minutes.

Patients will be able to order food from their bedside patient entertainment systems, which combine clinical services used by medical staff with a television and access to internet, which will be maintained by Serco employees.

Serco corporate affairs Tim Evans said employee training was aiming to create greater workplace efficiencies. Members of the cleaning staff, for example, were learning how to use new technology such as handheld GPS units to improve response time, he said.

“If we can make the person as comfortable as they possibly can be … then the clinicians will have a greater ability to provide treatment,” Mr Evans told Business News.

“If the clinicians can see more patients because there’s a better flow from our point of view, then that’s a better outcome as well.”

Serco has been under pressure to deliver better quality outcomes across all areas of its business after its custodial transfer services record was tarnished this year by the escape of four prisoners in its care.

Mr Kloeden said Serco had fixed procedures and made physical adjustments to its prisoner vans.

“There’s a high level of scrutiny and so it’s in our very best interest to not be complacent in any way and to manage these contracts very closely and very tightly,” he said.

Mr Kloeden said the four incidents had occurred in the context of Serco making 80,000 transfers in the past three years.

In Perth last week, Mr Kloeden also commended the Barnett government on its’ “modest start” in privatising assets.

As part of comments made in his capacity as Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chair, he said privatising electricity assets should be the government’s first priority.

He said IPA estimated Queensland’s electricity assets that could be privatised were worth between $37 billion and $43 billion, while those in NSW were worth $40 billion to $47 billion. 

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