Serving up new luxury
Hospital’s room service menu
IT’S a luxury that one Sydney hospital hopes will make its competitors feel sick — room service.
Patients at North Sydney’s Mater Hospital can now pick up the phone and order a restaurant-style meal, cooked by experienced chefs, and have it delivered to their room within 45 minutes.
Healthcare insurers have welcomed the move and said it was a product of increasing competition between public and private facilities. “Private hospitals are increasingly having to compete with public hospitals and that’s one of the drivers behind this,” a spokeswoman for Private Healthcare Australia, a peak representative body for health insurers, said.
The hotel-style menu launched last week and is available each day until 7pm. It includes an all-day breakfast, curries, stir-fries, spaghetti bolognaise and even freshly grilled steak.
The project’s manager, Carmel Lazarus, said patients with private health cover had high expectations for their hospital stays.
“One of the main drivers is patient satisfaction and creating a differentiator in the market, and also the pressure of people with private health having greater expectations,” she said.
“The Mater was chosen as our pilot site and we’ll be measuring a number of things, and if it pays off, which we’re thinking it will, the plan is to expand it to our other private hospitals.”
Ms Lazarus said the room service model, also available at a Queensland hospital, could soon be introduced to other sites, including St Vincent’s Private.
She said the new initiative, launched last week, had already “significantly reduced” the amount of food left uneaten by patients.
“I’ve been looking at the current traditional models and seeing there’s quite a lot of waste and there were some deficiencies in terms of patient satisfaction,” Ms Lazarus said.
Lindsay Conroy, in the Mater after having baby Isla, samples the new room service menu. Picture: Tim Hunter