Doctors slam Compass food

Deborah Powell.
Deborah Powell.
Cafeteria food supplied by beleaguered Compass Group at Dunedin Hospital has come under fire from junior doctors, with a recent survey showing high levels of dissatisfaction.

Compass is already under increasing scrutiny over the quality of its meals delivered to the Southern District Health Board for patients under a controversial new 15-year contract.

Meals are sourced from the North Island, with expectations $6.96million will be saved over the contract period.

New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association national secretary Deborah Powell said a survey by Dunedin Hospital resident doctors quantified concerns about in-house catering by Compass for hospital staff and called for an "urgent improvement'' in food quality.

"The survey results mirror [other] recent issues highlighted by recipients of meals on wheels and [Dunedin Hospital] patients,'' she said in a statement.

Findings from the survey found 90% of the doctors reported a decrease in food quality and 84% a lack of variety in cafeteria meals and 78% said there was insufficient food; the cafe simply "runs out of food''.

Dr Powell went on to say 72% of the doctors also reported an insufficient range of healthy food and drink options.

"Locally produced food provides nutritional benefits as well as economic, which in turn improves the overall health status of communities; something our members believe district health boards should not just be supporting, but encouraging,'' she said.

"It is crucial that Southern DHB takes the concerns of the public, patients and their staff seriously,'' she said.

The survey reported "strong support'' for the friendly local hospital cafeteria staff members, Dr Powell said.

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