In 2003, PHSA entered into an agreement with private sector contractors for food and housekeeping services at BC Children's Hospital, BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre, the BC Cancer Agency's Vancouver Centre, and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children.
PHSA decided to contract out non-clinical services such as housekeeping and food services to focus our health care dollars on our number one priority—patient care.
At that time, PHSA made a commitment that contractors providing cleaning or food services in PHSA's agencies would meet strict performance standards, and be subject to regular monitoring and assessment to make sure that those expected standards for cleanliness and quality were met or exceeded.
Service quality maintained
As part of our regular monitoring and assessment, third-party evaluations of food and housekeeping services were conducted to ensure that performance standards were being met.
At the end of the first year, the audits found that the quality of housekeeping and food services has remained high since they were contracted out by the PHSA last year:
- The audit found that Crothall Services Canada achieved an overall rating of 79%, compared to 73% when housekeeping services were done in-house.
- Food safety performance—such as food handling and storage—has increased at all facilities since contracting out.
- At BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre, food safety performance increased from 63% to 86%, at the BC Cancer Agency it increased from 75% to 97%, and at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children it increased from 84% to 95%.
- A patient survey found a high level of satisfaction with food services since they were contracted out. Food services received satisfaction ratings of 84% at BC Children's Hospital, 91% at BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre and 83% at BC Cancer Agency.
More money for patient care
Contracting out food services and housekeeping is benefiting both patients and taxpayers. We are saving $5 million per year from outsourcing non-clinical services—money that is being redirected to protecting patient car
As the graphs below show, the quality of service for housekeeping and food services at PHSA facilities has been maintained since the contracting out of non-clinical services.
Third-party audits were conducted of housekeeping services in February 2003 (pre-contract), and again in October to December 2004 (post-contract). The audit found that quality was generally maintained since the services were contracted out. The weighted average represents the average score of all facilities based on square footage
A third-party audit of food safety standards was conducted at PHSA facilities in August 2003 (pre-contract) and again in September 2004 (post-contract). The audit found that food safety performance standards—such as food handling and storage—have been enhanced since food services were contracted out.
A third-party survey of patient satisfaction levels with food services at PHSA facilities was conducted in the fall of 2004. The survey found a high level of patient satisfaction with food services since they were contracted out.
At which PHSA facilities have housekeeping and food services been contracted out?
Housekeeping at BC Children's Hospital, BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre, the Vancouver Centre of the BC Cancer Agency and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children have been contracted out to Crothall Services Canada.
Patient and retail food services at BC Children's Hospital, BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre, the Vancouver Centre of the BC Cancer Agency and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children have been contracted out to Morrison Healthcare Food services.
Why are housekeeping and food service performance standards at these facilities being audited?
When PHSA announced its decision to contract out non-clinical services, it made a commitment to our patients and staff that any contractor providing cleaning or food services in one of PHSA's agencies would meet strict performance standards, and be subject to regular monitoring and assessment to make sure that those expected standards for cleanliness and quality were met or exceeded.
What did the evaluations find?
Third-party evaluations found that the quality of housekeeping and food services has been maintained since they were outsourced by the PHSA last year.
What does this mean?
It means that PHSA's facilities are clean and safe. They are as clean and safe today as they were before contracting out. Beyond that, we are always aiming for continuous improvement.
How rigorous are your standards for housekeeping?
Our standards are among the most rigorous in North America. In fact, we raised the bar when we decided to contract out. We chose to set our post-outsourcing housekeeping standards higher than our previous standards – for example, increasing the frequency of cleaning in areas, and adding new requirements such as cleaning toys at Children's Hospital. We also chose to set the target in evaluating performance against the new standards higher than our previous target. The new target for the enhanced standards is 85%, while the old target for the old standards was 75%. This is because we are aiming for continuous improvements in the quality of our services. The important thing for patients and their families to know is that our facilities are clean and safe.
How much money has been saved as a result of contracting out housekeeping and food services?
Contracting out food services and housekeeping is benefiting both patients and taxpayers. We are saving $5 million per year from contracting out non-clinical services—money that is being redirected to protecting patient care.
When were performance standards measured and how often will they be measured in future?
Food safety standards were measured by a third party before the implementation of contracting out agreements in August 2003. The first annual audit to measure the contractors' performance was conducted in September 2004.
A third-party housekeeping audit was first performed in February 2003. The first annual audit of the contractors' performance was initiated the week of October 18, 2004 and completed the week of December 6, 2004.
The patient satisfaction survey was conducted in the fall of 2004 and the report from Research Strategy Group was received on October 22, 2004.
We are committed to conducting third party audits on at least an annual basis.
Who conducted the audits?
Third-party auditing firms specializing in food safety and environmental standards were hired to conduct these audits. Regarding food services, Steritech conducted the food safety audit and the Research Strategy Group conducted the patient satisfaction audit. Daniels Associates conducted the housekeeping audit.