UK: University Hospital's breakfast buffet a 'hygiene disaster'
Posted: May 31st, 2009 - 10:09am
A new self-service buffet is making a pig’s breakfast of infection control at Coventry’s University Hospital, angry staff claim.
The help-yourself spread was unveiled at the hospital’s main restaurant last week and is open to workers, patients and visitors.
Shocked hospital workers say they were only warned about the change days earlier when a sign went up.
They claim the self-service system is a hygiene disaster waiting to happen.
Allowing sick patients to handle the food could quickly spread infections, such as the highly contagious norovirus sickness bug, staff say.
And they argue that would put patients and staff at risk of falling foul of full scale epidemics.
One angry worker told the Coventry Telegraph: “I think it is disgusting.”
“Patients have been coming in with catheters and drip tubes in and rummaging through the piles of toast.
“Who knows what infections they are bringing down from the wards.
“I know a lot of staff who used to have breakfast in the cafe who are saying they don’t want to touch the food now it is self-service.”
Contractor ISS runs the restaurant under the private finance initiative, which saw it part-fund the state-of-the-art hospital in return for the right to offer services on-site.
ISS spokesman Craig Smith said the self-service breakfast buffet was launched to offer its customers more choice after consultation with staff and visitors.
“It is not unusual to have a self-service restaurant in a hospital – it is in place in hospitals up and down the country,” he said.
Mr Smith promised the restaurant would be closely monitored by trained catering professionals and the self-service aspect would be withdrawn if there were problems, but stressed good hygiene was everyone’s responsibility.