2 Sep 2016

Petitioners call on Southern DHB to ditch Compass

7:45 pm on 2 September 2016

A petition calling on the Southern District Health Board to ditch its contract with the company supplying hospital meals in the area has been presented to the board's commissioner.

Protesters outside Dunedin Hospital said the food wasn't good enough for patients.

Protesters outside Dunedin Hospital in April this year said the food wasn't good enough for patients. Photo: RNZ / Peter Newport

There has been criticism over patient meals since the private company, Compass, took over in February, with some people describing what they were getting to eat as awful and bland.

Real Meals coalition spokesperson Anna Huffstutler said they had gathered 3000 signatures for their petition to get rid of Compass.

"The petition has grown out of the concern and feedback from members of the public about the contract change for hospital meals in Southland and Otago, so what we're asking of the district health board is to end the contract with Compass."

Ms Huffstutler said the petition was presented to the commissioner, Kathy Grant, this afternoon.

Since April this year, Compass has had to report monthly against a set of performance indicators in its contract. The indicators include food safety, patient and staff satisfaction and complaint resolution.

The company has a 15-year meal supply contract, with termination clauses based on key performance measures such as nutritional value, taste and presentation.

Compass prepares much of its food in the North Island and then freights it south.

The company has previously said it has full confidence in the quality and taste of the food it is delivering to patients.

The DHB has also defended the contract, saying some of the information being circulated didn't provide the whole truth of what was being served.

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