The on-site kitchens currently provide quality, good-value food that caters for a vast range of dietary requirements. So why does the Trust want to introduce ready meals for patients?
The ‘Stop the Slop’ campaign in Salford is gathering strength and last week I had the privilege of speaking at a campaign meeting. Other speakers included Labour’s Salford mayoral candidate Paul Dennett and local MP Rebecca Long-Bailey – who are both high-profile supporters of the campaign. Patients, staff and local campaigners are united in opposing the Trust’s privatisation plans which make no medical or long-term economic sense.
Good food is important to a patient’s recovery and freshly-prepared food on-site is undoubtedly better than ready meals. There have been incidences of malnutrition amongst people arriving at Salford Royal – and it’s clear that people should get good food while they’re in hospital.
The meals provided by Salford’s kitchens are very good value and cheaper than the privatised cook-chill meals provided in some trusts. Our reps in Salford have been told by the Trust that they need to invest some money in updating the kitchens, but this short-term cost would quickly be made up.
Why then would an NHS Trust choose to outsource a quality, cost-effective service? It can only make sense if the Trust regards saving a few quid in the short term by skimping on updating the kitchen as its priority. And I think that might be where the explanation lies.
The Trust’s senior management are very keen on being David Cameron’s and Jeremy Hunt’s favourite hospital. But Government underfunding means the Trust has a financial deficit. Rather than standing up for Salford and lobbying Government for more money, the Trust’s leadership want to prove how clever and competent they are by closing their deficit quickly. That means short-term cost saving measures - like privatising patient catering.
This is a bad decision and one that needs to be changed. And we can change it. The Stop the Slop campaign has already struck a chord with the people of Salford and beyond. Please visit the campaign page <click here> to sign our petition and see what you can do to help.