Being a bit of a Luddite, I’m always wary of new technology (I know, not ideal in the fast-paced waste industry), so the thought of meeting robots that have replaced waste operatives in a new hospital filled me with mixed emotions.
The £430-million Brunel building, the newest addition to Bristol’s large Southmead Hospital, opened in May 2014, and is already breaking new ground. Indeed, 158
800-litre (L) standard and dual-stream bins and 12 high-tech automated guided vehicles are now transporting waste, linen, food, consumables, certain pharmaceuticals and instrumentation around the hospital.
Walking into the new hospital – designed like an airport, complete with ‘check-in’ points and patient ‘gates’ – one cannot help but feel a bit awed by its size and technology. I am here to find out about the building’s automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and half expect to see them whizzing around, but quickly learn that they are restricted to the clinical side of the building and service areas.