Fresh food off the menu for Bideford patients?

BIDEFORD Community Hospital patients could be eating pre-prepared meals on wheels next year instead of fresh food cooked on the premises if proposals being considered by health bosses are adopted. Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has begun a consultation

BIDEFORD Community Hospital patients could be eating pre-prepared "meals on wheels" next year instead of fresh food cooked on the premises if proposals being considered by health bosses are adopted.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has begun a consultation process with catering staff at the hospital over a proposed new system of prepared to order meals.

Food is currently prepared in the hospital kitchens from scratch using raw ingredients, but the trust said in a statement: "In community settings in particular a pre-prepared system offers good patient choice, eliminates food wastage and reduces its carbon footprint."

The Gazette understands staff were told of the proposals on Friday and there are fears the move will lead to redundancies.


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The trust has said that in considering the proposal it is reviewing the staffing structure of the catering team at Bideford Hospital.

It said it was looking at various alternative food systems available, in addition to talking to colleagues in other community health and social care settings where the prepared-to-order type of catering is widely used.

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A spokesperson added: "We have a responsibility to minimise waste while continuing to put patients at the centre of everything we do.

"The option we are looking at provides a faster service, more menu choices for patients and is more flexible and responsive to individual patient needs.

"The trust recognises this will be an anxious time for catering staff at Bideford. We are encouraging all those affected to give feedback and put forward suggestions.

"No decisions have been made at this point. We're offering all affected staff one-to-one sessions to talk through the proposals."

The consultation period for affected staff runs until January 22.

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