THE CAMPAIGN to stop the closure of the kitchen at Salford Royal Hospital has stepped up.
The Salford Royal Hospital Trust in February decided on plans to close the kitchen and bring in an outside catering company to provide pre-cooked meals for patients.
Whilst the decision undergoes a more public and thorough consultation the move has been condemned by unions, charities and the public.
— Katherine Button (@betterNHSfood) April 25, 2016
The charity Medact Manchester and the union Unison North West are amongst those campaigning against the move.
Dr Ruth Wiggans, on behalf of Medact Manchester, expressed her concerns.
She said: “The food is going to be of a lower quality as it is being prepared off site and may have been made weeks before.
“Food plays a really important part in recovery and making patients’ experience of hospital more liveable.”
Dr Wiggans also emphasised that despite the hospital’s promise that the jobs of the kitchen staff will be protected Medact Manchester cannot see how the same level of work will be provided.
She added: “These are skilled people as they are chefs.
“They spent their lives pouring their heart and soul into creating food for patients and now they will just be simply heating meals up.”
Ready-made meals will be frozen and then shipped out to the hospital ready to be heated up for patients.
Wendy Allison, regional organiser for Unison North West, explained that the public have clearly been showing their support for the cause.
She said: “Our online petition nearly has 1500 signatures whilst our physical one has 600.
“Also, the Trust has carried out random tasting panels in the community and three people from those have contacted me directly to say how the food is absolutely disgusting.
“The campaign has really struck a chord with people as they understand how important nutrition is.
“We will continue to put pressure on the trust and remind them that this is a really unpopular move.”
— Doctor Magiot (@doctormagiot) April 8, 2016
In addition to Unison’s petition, Medact Manchester have been writing letters to local clinicians inviting them to add their voice to the campaign.
Many have in addition to local councillors and the MP for Salford and Eccles, Rebecca Long Bailey.
The consultation is due to close at the end of this month.
By Emily Murray