NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is to invest £6million to create two brand new central food production units in a drive to improve the quality of patient food.
The two state-of-the-art units, one based at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital and the other in Greenock’s Inverclyde Royal Hospital, will prepare the food for all the hospitals in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
The move will ensure all meals are produced locally and will bring to an end to the contract with Tillery Valley in Wales which currently supply freeze-cook meals to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
The reorganisation will also see the closure of a number of older hospital kitchens, which are no longer fit for purpose, many of which are also under-used.
About 40 to 50 staff in the older kitchens that will close will be offered relocation to other catering duties or an opportunity to retrain in another field such as domestic or portering.
In Paisley the Royal Alexandra Hospital based catering staff will rise from the current level of 67 to 90. In Greenock the Inerclyde Royal Infirmary based catering staff will rise from the current 53 to 73.
Alex McIntyre, Director of Facilities said: “We have been working with the trade unions to minimise the impact of these changes on the catering staff. The vast majority of staff displaced by the closure of the old kitchens will be retrained to work at the ward level where they will regenerate the chilled food and serve patients.
For a small number, there will be other opportunities and we will now enter into detailed discussions with the staff affected to explore these options with them.”
In a related move, the Board is set to restrict opening hours in hospital dining areas in a bid to end losses in retail catering arrangements.
Staff dining rooms currently receive an annual £2 million subsidy. These vital NHS funds, which could otherwise be invested in core services, are currently paying for dining rooms to be staffed for lengthy periods during the day when not in use.
Alex McIntyre said: “It is recognised that it is not acceptable for tax payers’ money to be used to subsidise empty dining facilities. Most of our sites already offer a wide choice of food outlets including WRVS coffee rooms and coffee bars.
“We therefore are making arrangements to close the dining rooms when they are not used and putting in place additional facilities for staff catering outwith these times, including a call order service and quality vending. The vast majority of dining rooms will remain open at busy meal times throughout the day. The only exception to this is potentially Gartnavel where there are eight separate food outlets spread throughout the campus, it is therefore our intention to consult more widely on that site.”
Speaking of the process of engagement around the new catering strategy Matt McLaughlin of Unison said “There is no doubt that significant investment in NHS Catering is welcome. UNISON is concerned that the NHS will need to change the staff profile and we are keen to work with them to ensure there is little or no negative impact for staff.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
The two super kitchens will provide meals for 5,500 patients being cared for in the Board’s 300 wards.
The units will cook fresh, freeze and deliver within hours to hospital sites where trained catering staff will heat and serve ensuring consistent quality hot food for hospital patients.
The “super kitchens” will jointly produce 43,000 meal portions per day (an average patient meal comprising of four portions – ie soup (1 portion) + main, veg & potato (3 portions)
In a single year the kitchens will cook 15 million patient meal portions.
Based on a typical day’s meal of popular dishes the following volumes of commodities will be processed per annum.
• 1,300,000 chicken portions (such as roast chicken breast)
• 155,906 Kg mince (such as mince pie)
• 88,695Kg cauliflower (such as cauliflower cheese dish)
• 600,000 sandwiches
• 2,810,500 portions each of vegetables and potatoes