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Hospital catering contract hurts patients and workers

Annette King
Health Spokesperson

Darien Fenton
Labour Spokesperson

10 April 2013

Hospital catering contract cold comfort for patients and workers

Patients in our public hospitals face being fed TV-style, reheated dinners, transported hundreds of miles as the Government looks to contract out the supply of hospital meals to a multi-national company, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.

“Catering giant, Compass, which already supplies meals to a number of hospitals in New Zealand has been given the green light as preferred provider to expand its service to each of the country’s DHBs, with a 15-year contract.

“It will see the production of all hospital meals undertaken in just two main cities – Auckland and Christchurch – and the loss of some 1000 jobs.

Labour’s spokesperson on Labour issues, Darien Fenton, said such a mass layoff of food service workers would hit hard.

“At the same time the Government is planning to reduce rights for workers like these under the Employment Relations Act, leaving them without even basic protection. This will come as a double blow.

“It’s not the first time large scale contracting out has been tried in our public hospitals. The last time was in the 1990s when Australian company Tempo DNC left town under a cloud after they over-extended their business. In the collapse workers, suppliers and taxpayers were all left out on a limb.”

“Health Minister Tony Ryall has previously said he wants patients to receive quality service and care,” Annette King said.

“Compass has been linked to the UK’s horsemeat scandal, with horse DNA found in products it provided to hospitals and schools.

“It appears Mr Ryall knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. If quality is only measured in jobs destroyed and money saved, then it seems sick New Zealanders will be receiving second-rate care.”

ENDS

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