Ready meal plan for hospital patients
1:20pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
HOSPITAL patients could be fed ready meals under plans to make savings at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.
Under the proposals, the current meals at the Royal Bolton Hospital, which are made from fresh ingredients, would be scrapped and replaced with pre-packaged aeroplane-style meals.
According to union stewards, the plans include moving the preparation of the meals from the Royal Bolton Hospital to the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, in Wigan.
They are part of an ongoing jobs consultation at the trust, which includes cutting 500 positions, including frontline staff and nurses.
Bosses must save £50 million over the next three years and the trust is already more than £14.5 million in debt.
Four chefs jobs are among those under threat.
The catering team has won numerous awards, despite spending £3.46 less on food each day, less than the national average of £8.77.
It is believed the new ready meals will be trialed on staff and visitors, to get their opinion before being rolled out to patients.
Harry Hanley, secretary of Staff Side at the hospital, said the proposals had been put before the catering team and that they could affect patient care.
He added: “If people don’t get the right diet they require then it will affect patients.
“It is disappointing. I don’t know how many awards they have won but it was a few and the people are proud of what they do in the kitchen and the meals they prepare.”
Bosses from the Royal Bolton Hospital have said they are unable to comment on proposals at the hospital until the end of the consultation.
Stephen Tyldesley, associate director of estates and facilities, said: “We need to make savings across the trust in all departments. In catering the staff are being consulted on a number of proposals, none of which is definite at this point in time and therefore we do not intend to go into detail about them.”
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