Serv­ing up new lux­ury

Hospi­tal’s room ser­vice menu

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - LIA HARRIS

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

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