Every day at Serco we aim to make a difference for those who we serve. What about when we are the ones in need of care?
The beauty of life is that it is unpredictable. We can try to prepare, but we’re bound to be caught off guard sooner or later. Illness and injury are no exception – sometimes we see them coming, often we don’t see them at all. At Serco, we pride ourselves on caring for our people during these times, supporting them on their road to recovery and helping them return to work safely.
Meet Juan Camilo ‘Cam’ Ruiz Del Rio. Cam (above, second from right) works as a Marine Operations, Standards and Environment Supervisor for Serco’s Fleet Marine Services Contract with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Cam was enjoying life with his young family in Cairns when he was unexpectedly diagnosed with a congenital heart condition.
It was during an annual check-up that Cam mentioned symptoms of fatigue and heart palpitations, resulting in consultation with a cardiologist, an ultrasound and the diagnosis that he had been living with this condition his entire life.
“I was shocked to learn my heart was enlarged to almost twice the normal size,” says Cam, “and was quickly referred for open-heart surgery.”
After surgery and intensive care, Cam spent several weeks in hospital before being cleared to return home. Cam continued his recovery with the support of a local cardiologist, the Queensland Health Cardiac Rehabilitation team and the treating practitioner.
As signatories to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ Health Benefits of Good Work Consensus Statement, Serco is committed to promoting the health and wellbeing benefits that work brings to individuals, their families and the broader community. To support Cam and his family through the recovery process, we created a safe and sustainable return to work plan that complemented his broader cardiac rehabilitation programme.
We also helped Cam access his long service leave during his recovery, ensuring he was financially supported through the process. Knowing his team were covering his role at no service loss to the customer was also a comfort to Cam.
For Cam, our holistic and integrated return to work approach was a key element in his recovery:
“I wanted to return to work as soon as possible. With Serco’s support, a graduated return to work plan was created with input from my medical team, family and my manager. I started on two days per week, alternating with my cardiac rehab session. I thought this would be a piece of cake, but I was wrong... I was ready for bed immediately following my first shift. A realistic return to work plan was so important, and the support I received from my family, Serco and the Navy was key to my recovery.”
Cam was welcomed back to HMAS Cairns by his Serco and RAN colleagues and over the following six weeks progressed with his return and rehabilitation programmes before being discharged from cardiac rehabilitation and resuming normal hours and duties.
“It’s important that we strive to provide this level of support to all our people,” explains Wade Needham, Head of Safety, Environment and Wellbeing for Serco Asia Pacific. “Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because our actions benefit our colleagues, clients and the communities we operate in. We can lower the burden of illness on our people and their families, improve the resilience of our service delivery and reduce additional load placed upon our teams. By keeping the support we provide closely aligned and responsive to the individual work and wellbeing needs of our colleagues, we create the conditions for them to thrive.”