How Serco helped Dubai scale its field hospital capacity

31 August 2021 3 min. read
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In April 2020, the Dubai World Trade Centre was converted to a state-of-art, fully functional field hospital capable of supporting more than 3,000 Covid-19 patients. Serco supported the setup and operation of the hospital with more than 80 healthcare staff.

A field hospital is a facility offering support and emergency medical attention, as well as working to bring socio-healthcare services to remote rural areas with no easy access to medical specialists. While they have traditionally been deployed to help those injured in a natural disaster or military conflict, during the Covid-19 pandemic field hospitals became integral parts of country responses.

After more than 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic, these temporary healthcare solutions continue to be a crucial element of the response to the unprecedented health crisis. With bricks-and-mortar hospitals stretched to breaking point, they have been deployed in the UK, Sweden, and the US – where, as cases once again surge, Mississippi has organised two in a matter of days.

Dubai Field Hospital in the World Trade Centre, in Dubai

During the first wave of the pandemic, multiple field hospitals were set-up across the United Arab Emirates. This included one in the World Trade Centre, in Dubai. With beds in the conventional health service filling up, the building in the nation’s capital was converted into a state-of-the-art, fully functional medical facility. At full capacity, it was capable of supporting up to 3,300 coronavirus patients.

In order to quickly provide the facility with the necessary human resources, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) looked to the private sector for help. This soon saw Serco Middle East contracted to provide a full range of support services to the innovative Dubai Field Hospital.

Serco deployed over 80 experienced healthcare staff who provided a full range of non-clinical operations. Those services provided a vital wrap-around to the clinical care at the facility, enabling the Dubai Field Hospital to operate efficiently and aid effective quarantine, treatment and protection for those affected.

Phil Malem, CEO, Serco Middle East, noted, “Aside from mobilising frontline specialists, we also leveraged our internal subject matter experts through our healthcare specific service lines to provide knowledge and insight to assist in the management of the facility, and enabled Dubai Field Hospital and their healthcare personnel to focus on what is most important – providing critical care services to those that needed it.”

Serco’s expert teams brought with them global best-practices for working in infectious environments from around the Serco group directly into operation on the ground. At the same time, the company provided a phased increase of additional personnel and equipment in alignment to the occupancy and requirements of the field hospital – helping reduce the cost of the hospital, and increase efficiency.

On a global level, Serco continues to assist national governments and health providers with their responses to the Covid-19 crisis. According to a release from the firm, its staff are still providing frontline support for clinical staff for hospitals and on the ground in test centres.