MP believes hospital food steering in the wrong direction

Make sure you keep yourself healthy in Dunners this winter, because if you’re unlucky you might be sent to our glorious public hospital where you’ll be in for a treat when it comes to meal time. Some people have said it’s food you wouldn’t share to your pets, one person has said they had better meals in Nazi-occupied Holland. It might even be worse than the tough spaghetti and pink mince your flatmate thought would pass as a meal the other night. 

Now, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is taking a stand with the Otago Daily Times, asking for the Southern DHB’s contract with Compass to be released. So far there has been no response. NZ Health Partnerships, a state-owned organisation that supports all New Zealand health boards, have deterred the release. The response to Curran and the ODT was to wait for a “commercial and legal review” to make sure the contract was not “commercially prejudicial.” In other words, their aim is to remove elements of the contract that could reveal sensitive information. 

Last year, in an effort to save money due to poor board management, Southern District Health Board decided to stop preparing food for patients in house and instead sold the contract to Compass Group, a multinational food service company. Food is now trucked down from Auckland, which has caused much controversy amongst patients and staff. 

Compass began serving Dunedin Hospital with meals in October 2015 and since then feedback has generally been negative. Protests broke out against the hospital at the end of April.  However, the Governments see no problem. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman tried a meal prepared by Compass in Dunedin on video in April and commented that “there was nothing wrong with it at all” and it was a “standard Kiwi fare.”

Compass have signed up to a 15-year contract with the Southern DHB, which aims to save $6.96 million over that time.  

This article first appeared in Issue 12, 2016.
Posted 10:27am Sunday 22nd May 2016 by Tom Kitchin.