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Rules to prohibit members of the public entering staff cafes at Dunedin and Wakari Hospitals have been relaxed, despite a survey showing the move is opposed by nearly a third of staff.
Now, as long as they were in the company of staff, family and friends were allowed to use the cafes, the Southern District Health Board told staff in an email.
The board's redesign of the two hospitals included relocating Dunedin Hospital's cafe to a different part of the main hospital, and naming it Revive. The board also established a new cafe at Wakari, called Snowline. They opened on September 17 and August 27 respectively.
The staff cafe at Dunedin Hospital has traditionally been well used by members of the public.
Diagnostic and support services (Otago) general manager Sharon Mason said as part of the redesign, managers, listening to feedback from staff, had decided to prohibit the public from the cafes.
Recently the "reality" of that decision prompted a change of heart from some people, and staff were surveyed.
The survey drew received 725 responses, of which 41% were in favour of allowing family and friends (including company representatives), 29% favoured just family and 30% wanted staff only.
In the email to staff, Ms Mason acknowledged changing the policy would not suit everyone, but it was "in line with the preferences of the majority of staff".
Ms Mason said the cafes had been designed with staff only in mind, and the board would monitor use to determine whether layout changes were needed, possibly to create a staff-only area.
Ms Mason said with more services - and many corporate staff - moving to Wakari Hospital, that staff cafe was especially appreciated, given the lack of other options.
The change took effect on October 2.