‘Imagine us as part of you’

Outsourcing and the Serco way

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  • Published 20200203
  • ISBN: 9781925773804
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

LIKE MOST VISITS to ‘the future’ of anything, the wonders of a trip to Australia’s most advanced digital hospital weren’t the things I had expected. The Fiona Stanley Hospital is the biggest public works project commissioned by the state of Western Australia since the Goldfields Pipeline in 1898. Located in the southern Perth suburb of Murdoch, it is also the site of the largest outsourced health contract in Australian history: a $4.3 billion deal with the global outsourcing giant Serco for non-clinical services over twenty years.

The Serco website promises a building that isn’t just ‘smart’, but galaxy-brain smart: with a fleet of autonomous robots that quietly deliver meals to rooms, ‘real-time tracking’ of assets and people, 15,000 points of electronic contact and something known as ‘advanced interactive wayfinding’ – some sort of technical assurance, I guess, against visitors getting lost. Even individual towels are on the grid, each one bearing a unique trackable code. Protection from disorder comes not only in the form of advanced technology, but also from law: a 726-page contract containing 480 ‘key performance indicators’, drawn up to secure the trust of the local population. In this place, run in ‘the Serco way’, promises are kept, uncertainty is banished and prayers to St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, are forever redundant.

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