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Hospital food plan hits another snag

The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Doing away with local kitchens by contracting services to hubs operated by a multinational catering company was a crazy idea from the get-go.

“Not only does it needlessly affect patients, it affects staff, local food producers and local suppliers and does nothing for regional development.

“The proposal, which would see food cooked and chilled in Auckland before being transported around the country to be reheated, was supposedly about saving money.

“However if health boards refuse to opt into the scheme the economics don’t stack up. Rejecting the plan costs them financially. In an environment where every dollar counts that amounts to bullying.

“In the case of Hawke’s Bay, the country’s top performing DHB financially, it is just plain stupid. The savings for it over the 15 year-contract would only be 0.81 per cent of its 2013/14 financial year expenses, and they would likely be driven by job losses.

“HBL, which put this case up, is now being investigated by the Auditor-General. The whole business has more than a whiff of unsavouriness about it and I’d suggest to DHBs that have yet to decide whether to go ahead or not, don’t.”