Medirest, the healthcare arm of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has taken a five-year multi-service FM contract with Darent Valley Hospital in Kent.
The hospital is part of the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. Medirest will supply catering, cleaning, portering, security and reception along with innovations to streamline patient services.
About 300 staff will transfer to Medirest from Serco, which formerly carried out catering at the hospital.
Patients will now receive Medirest’s patient dining solution Steamplicity, along with the introduction of new meal-ordering technology. Created by chefs and dietitians, the meals cater to a range of dietary needs and are steam-cooked with fresh and raw ingredients in under five minutes. Around 35 per cent of meal options are vegetarian and vegan and it uses a closed-loop recycling system for the tray packaging – supporting Compass Group UK & Ireland’s drive towards its Climate Net Zero pledge.
The hospital’s restaurant will also be upgraded. A Wellspring restaurant will be introduced, with pods for informal meetings, a new ordering app – Time2Eat, and digital screens to reduce queuing times, plus support for local and social enterprise suppliers. There will also be a bi-monthly street food event using local suppliers.
To help to improve patient flow, location-specific artificial intelligence will be used to create more efficient routing for portering and logistics tasks. The technology uses a geo-location system for mapping and allocating work, tracking where jobs need completing, setting up deployment and automatically updating the portering team and the hospital department requesting the job. A cleaning, vacuum robot will also be deployed to free up team members to focus on touch-point and cross-infection hotspots.
Steve Cenci, managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland – Healthcare, said: “This partnership brings to life synergies and introduces innovation where needed in areas that are important to Darent Valley Hospital and Medirest. This practical appliance of technology will enhance the experience for anyone needing to visit the hospital.”
Carolyn Lewis, director of estates, facilities & capital at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trusts, added: “We are looking forward to continuing to work alongside our colleagues as they transfer over to Medirest. This is a very exciting time for the trust and the enhanced services promise to be both groundbreaking and outstanding. We are excited about all the innovative solutions which will be introduced as a result of the change.”
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, which delivers some services from the Darent Valley Hospital site will also benefit from the partnership.
In May 2020, Medirest announced that it would pay healthcare frontline employees supporting the NHS the equivalent NHS Agenda for Change rates of basic pay. This will mean a pay rise for some colleagues involved in the Darent Valley contract.
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