Hospital kitchen claims

  • Tony Ryall
Health

Health Minister Tony Ryall says it is incorrect to say that 50 hospital kitchens will be closed, as is being claimed.

Health Benefits Limited (HBL) is the agency that represents the 20 district health boards who are working together to save money in back office areas.

Mr Ryall says HBL is currently consulting with unions on a proposal to streamline district health board food services.

“The health service is looking at how we can provide a better service with improved quality of food but in a more collective way, that saves money which can be ploughed back in to front line services.

“The vast majority of hospital kitchens are already contracted out to private businesses,” Mr Ryall says.

“I am told the consultation could see two or more major new kitchens providing food services across the country. That would result in a number of other hospital kitchens being downsized, but HBL says food quality would be maintained and improved.

“It is early days. HBL is still consulting with the unions and a business case is expected to be completed in the next six months or so, but implementation would take longer.” Mr Ryall says.

The Government wants as many of the health dollars directed into frontline services for patients as possible, like more operations and appointments with specialists.

“HBL believe they can save more than $10 million per year with the proposal and all of that money would be redirected back into frontline health services.”