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Waitaki District Health Services has signed a food services agreement with Presbyterian Support Otago, the Waitaki District Council-owned company has confirmed.
This morning's announcement followed an operational review of the hospital's kitchen service, part of a wide-ranging look at services at the hospital and recommended as part of a joint review of services in the district that also involved the Southern District Health Board.
In a statement, it was confirmed the agreement would come into effect next year from January 14.
"This new agreement sees food services for inpatients, maternity, staff meals and Meals on Wheels being freshly prepared at Iona Enliven Care Home and Hospital and delivered hot to the hospital or the person receiving Meals on Wheels.
"Meals provided by Iona will be individually packaged, in special packaging that keeps them hot. The packaging material is environmentally friendly and recyclable, and 95% of the material is biodegradable,'' the statement said.
The statement said the decision was made to outsource food services as the company "works towards a sustainable position both clinically and financially'' and met the criteria set out by the board.
"Today's announcement means that the provision of food services to Oamaru Hospital has been kept local and fulfils the WDHS board requirements regarding the preparation of fresh food, and sourcing local produce wherever possible.''
In November, a public meeting was held after the company came under fire for how it had communicated its review of its kitchen services to the public, and to answer questions about the hospital and health services in Waitaki.
The company reported an operational deficit of $810,918 in the 2017-18 financial year and about $600,000 in the previous year.
An increased deficit was forecast for 2018-19.