A fresh approach to food at Canterbury hospitals

Monday July 3, 2017

​​​​Canterbury DHB has brought a range of services in-house, including all food services, and at Ashburton Hospital our orderly, cleaning and laundry services.

The move is the first time in 13 years that the DHB has managed these services itself. In March, Canterbury DHB announced it would take over management of all food services from existing provider Medirest, a subsidiary of Compass Group, after the contract expired on 30 June. This followed the decision in September last year not to sign up to the national food service contract.

Acting Chief Executive, Mary Gordon, says over 99 percent of staff had transferred from the previous Compass Group contract, and that food services would continue as usual.

"It's exciting to be welcoming around 300 new staff as a result of the transfer of services in-house. Our intention was that all staff were retained by Canterbury DHB and we are proud that almost all have opted to transfer to become Canterbury DHB employees.

"We are fortunate to have our own well-established, proven and fully-owned, Cook-Chill production unit so we will continue to use the same food production methods. This means we can make savings and deliver more than we could have on the national contract. As a result of the transfer of services any profits from café sales will now be funnelled back into the Canterbury health system.

"We're very thankful for the great service Compass Medirest has provided over the last 13 years. I would also like to thank them, their union, and all the staff who have worked cooperatively behind the scenes on the details to ensure the smooth transition for launch day."

Food services at Canterbury DHB covers all the meals and beverages for patients, including those with a wide range of dietary requirements, Meals on Wheels, and the provision of food in cafés which are open to staff and the public at Christchurch Women's Hospital, Christchurch Hospital, Burwood Hospital, Ashburton Hospital and Hillmorton Hospital. The DHB prepares and serves more than one million patient meals each year and delivers more than 120,000 meals on wheels.

While there are no immediate changes planned for current menus, which enjoy high levels of customer satisfaction, over time there will be some enhancements to the range of healthy choices available, says Mary Gordon.

The DHB has also developed a new brand for the transferring services to recognise that it will be a separate 'business unit' within the DHB. The new brand name for this branch of services – 'WellFood – A fresh approach to food'– is a further signal of the desire to gradually "freshen" up the food options, says Mary Gordon.

"Entering this next phase is very exciting for Canterbury DHB – welcoming our new staff and continuing to enhance our food services for patients, staff and visitors – and to those receiving Meals on Wheels at home." 

Page last reviewed: 12 July 2017
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