7 Jul 2013

Mayor fights hospital food service centralisation

2:12 pm on 7 July 2013

The mayor of Dunedin says the possible centralisation of hospital kitchen services in the South Island would put the entire region at risk.

The service is currently run out of both Christchurch and Dunedin, but under proposed Ministry of Health changes, the Dunedin operation could be closed.

Dave Cull says the Canterbury earthquakes showed a single distribution centre for food leaves people vulnerable.

Dave Cull.

Dave Cull. Photo: RNZ

"What we discovered after the Canterbury earthquakes is that our supermarkets all round the South Island emptied of goods because the distribution centre was in one place, Christchurch, and a lot of the stuff didn't get there."

Mr Cull says a more resilient model would involve both Christchurch and Dunedin continuing to provide services.

Government-owned agency Health Benefits, says early indications are that savings of at least $10 million a year could be made nationally.

It is consulting with unions but says no decision has been made yet.