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Furness General Hospital meal idea sparks job fears

FRESH fears have been raised over the future of jobs at Furness General Hospital after bosses revealed they are considering cutting out homemade meals.

Patients at FGH are served dishes prepared and cooked on site by the Barrow hospital’s catering team, made up of around 65 people, including chefs, supervisors, catering assistants and menu clerks.

But the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs FGH, is now considering switching to frozen meals.

Tim Bennett, UHMBT deputy chief executive, said: “We introduced a cook freeze service at Westmorland General Hospital (in Kendal) last year, which has received very positive feedback from staff and patients.

“Nutritional, high quality and tasty food is cooked by a professional catering supplier and delivered to the hospital for reheating. Using this service has enabled us to address some patient concerns around choice, ordering at the point of service, portion sizes, and being able to see the food before it is served.

“It also provides a significant reduction in food waste costs, whilst also supporting a reduction in utility costs including water, gas and electricity.

“Currently, FGH and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary operate a cook-serve system where food is prepared and cooked on site and distributed at the appropriate temperature to the wards. However, in practice, there can be a substantial time delay between production and consumption.

“We are in the process of reviewing our food service models at FGH and RLI and have spoken to the catering staff about the option of replicating the WGH cook freeze model at both hospitals.”

A concerned FGH worker told the Evening Mail: “Staff there (at WGH) have said they get nothing but complaints from the patients. They’ll tell you it’s been a success but you ask anyone there and they’ll tell you different.

“The chefs there aren’t happy either, because they’re trained chefs and they’re just sticking stuff in the microwave and waiting for it.”

The employee said the discussions had left catering staff in fear of their jobs, and added: “At the moment they said redundancies haven’t been discussed, but the only reason they’ll be bringing this in is to cut the wage bill.”

But, Mr Bennett said: “No decisions have been made as yet and we will continue to keep staff and the public informed.”

Have your say

Well said "the fatcats must go"

You hit the nail on the head.
We are sick if hearing blatant rubbish from these bosses.
Bottom line is they want to sack most of the catering staff to save money and sod what the patients think about the food!

Posted by I'll second that! on 28 February 2014 at 13:05

How on earth can you compare a meal done from scratch to a processed meal which has gone through so many procedures to make it fit for human consumption and then have the nerve to call it nutritional!!!!At the very least consider how you would feel Mr Bennet if you have undergone an emergency operation and are on the road to recovery..the last thing you would want to eat would be a frozen meal!!Its a well known fact that home made food contributes to a faster recovery from illness.It would be such an utter waste of the Chefs lifetimes skills for this money pinching flash in the pan idea from the powers that be to go through with this absurb notion!!!

Posted by mal on 21 February 2013 at 21:41

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