Serco has signed an agreement to improve facilities management delivery (FM) at Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital (DSFH) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Serco's Saudi unit will make wide-ranging changes to 12 FM service lines that will help DSFH cut costs and improve efficiency.

Service lines Serco will work on include VIP healthcare services; maintenance, planning, and implementation; infection control; cleaning technology and quality assurance; and porter and helpdesk services.

READ: Serco Saudi to provide FM for Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital

A computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) system will be installed to automate and streamline operations. The system can help schedule work and coordinate staff with handheld GPS devices, providing data and analysis on the performance of FM services. 

This smart system is "relatively new to the Middle East", making DSFH among the "first of its kind" in the healthcare sector to use the technology, UK-based Serco said.

Serco's improvements could lead to a 30% decline in reactive maintenance work.

The FM provider has been working with DSFH for six months on plans to improve FM services and the patient experience at the complex. 

Managing director at Serco Middle East, Edward Gallagher, said there was "clear evidence [that] behaviours, interactions, and positivity with patients impact upon patient mood, experience and even time to recover".

Gallagher also praised Saudi Arabia's ambition to "further improve and build healthcare capabilities", adding that the company looked forward to delivering "innovative changes" at DSFH.

The agreement was signed by Serco Saudi Services' general manager, Ahmad El Houri, and DSFH's executive vice president, Sanjay Shah.

Shah said the agreement would keep the hospital "ahead" of the digital curve, adding: "We are really looking forward to taking our hospital to the next level with the introduction of a multitude of smart service lines provided by Serco."

Britain, meanwhile, wants to strengthen trade and investment with Saudi Arabia. Philip Hammond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, was present at the signing ceremony between Serco and DSFH, and said the deal was a "positive example" of the two countries working together.