Robots to deliver meals in Queensland-first at Coast hospital
THE robots whose job it will be to get Sunshine Coast University Hospital meals to patients will have to travel up to a kilometre to reach their destinations.
Today Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick gave a sneak peek of the Automated Guided Vehicles in action at the $1.8 billion hospital.
Despite its many high-tech facilities, the real beauty of these advances is the pressure they would take off staff, making them more available for important patient work that only humans can do.
Mr Dick said he was pleased the AGVs would allow staff to focus more of their time on patients and enhance the work, health and safety environment of the approximately 270 operational staff who will provide these critical services to patients.
"The AGVs will do the 'heavy lifting', travelling dedicated routes throughout the hospital to deliver linen, meals and other supplies to ward areas where they will then be managed by our operational services staff," he said.
"For example, meals will be delivered from the kitchen to some ward areas up to half a kilometre away. Once they reach their destination, operational services staff will then personally deliver the meals to patients."
Modern hospitals are increasingly using AGVs, which have inbuilt sensors ensuring they stop even if someone unexpectedly walks in front of them. But the AGVs at the new hospital in Kawana are a Queensland-first, he said.
"The robots will operate within dedicated logistic routes within the hospital and use dedicated logistic lifts so they will not be in public areas," Mr Dick said.
"The addition of these robots takes this already world-class facility to the next level."
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Kevin Hegarty said the AGVs were not the only form of cutting edge technology that would be utilised at SCUH.
"The hospital will also have a pharmacy robot to dispense a wide range of medications and pneumatic tubes that will transport pathology samples up to six metres per second throughout the hospital," Mr Hegarty said.
"The latest educational equipment includes an anatomage table, which allows students and clinicians to explore the human body virtually and simulation suites which allows the most complex of medical procedures to be practiced."
The hospital is on track to see its first patients in March as part of a staged opening.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Board chair Dr Lorraine Ferguson AM said the hospital's progressive commencement of services was being guided by the advice of senior clinicians to maximise safety for patients and staff.