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Robots help deliver meals for patients at Bristol's new £430million super Southmead Hospital

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 03, 2014

By Emma Grimshaw

  • Robots from the fleet of automatic guided vehicles which are now providing food for almost 1,000 patients at Southmead Hospital

  • Food being served on the hospital's wards where humans take over

  • Southmead Hospital's Katherine Lord, head of nutrition and dietetics

  • Robots from the fleet of automatic guided vehicles which are now providing food for almost £1,000 patients at Southmead Hospital

  • Ronald Clark, 83, at Bristol's new £430 million Southmead Hospital Pictures: Michael Lloyd

  • Catering manager Gary Wilkins

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This is the incredible fleet of robots helping to provide food for almost 1,000 patients at a new £430 million super hospital.

Southmead Hospital in Bristol has deployed a fleet of 12 automatic guided vehicles to deliver meals to its 950 patients.

The droids, which start work at 10.15 every morning, are capable of opening doors, operating lifts and picking up food without any human assistance.

They transfer chilled dishes to kitchens scattered around the hospital, where they are heated and then served to patients.

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After completing their rounds, the machines return to their charging stations until they are called upon again for the next meal.

Catering manager Gary Wilkins said it was as simple as pressing a button and the machines did the rest.

He said: "They (the robots) are very slick and very quick. At first you are a bit worried about whether it is all going to work, but they are amazing."

The automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are also used to transport waste, linen, supplies, sterile instruments, endoscopes and pharmacy items around the building.

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They operate in designated areas, which are primarily staff only, and have safety features including the ability to stop if something gets in the way.

They are able to navigate their way along "virtual tracks" using infra-red laser scanners and comparing what they sense with an in-built map. It is hoped the machines, which measure 1,700mm x 610mm x 306mm, will soon be introduced in other parts of the hospital.

The newly built Southmead Hospital was recently criticised for its food, after one patient took pictures of poor portions. But Sharon Fortune, head of facilities for hospitality, defended the food available to patients. She said: "We never run out of food on the wards, people can always ask for extra. It is up to the staff on the ward to judge it.

"We don't know if it is a frail old man we are serving or a large rugby player so it's up to each ward to know their patients and serve food accordingly."

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2 comments

  • midiaa  |  September 03 2014, 8:02PM

    Hopefully it's not serving some of MObama's meals.

    |   5
  • oldollie  |  September 03 2014, 7:34PM

    I wonder if liberals can be intellectually honest enough to admit that this is a direct consequence of minimum wage laws?

    |   15

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