Hospital staff denied hot meal over shortages
on 26/02/2013 00:00:00
Patsy Doyle, INMO industrial relations officer, confirmed staff at CUMH raised the issue last month when it emerged there was no longer enough catering staff in the canteen to provide hot food.
She said retirements and not replacing staff who resigned meant the main staff canteen was not serving hot food.
"It raises the question of a place that runs on a 24/7 basis," she said. "You have staff on-call, those in the critical care unit and the emergency department.
"It also raises the question of weekends and particularly when staff cannot leave the premises and there is no facility for heating up food.
"It means staff surviving on cold food which is less nutritious."
Ms Doyle said the situation was "a first in Cork" and was of particular concern for staff who might be working a shift lasting 12 or 13 hours.
"The senior nurses are very concerned because they know the value of staff being fed properly," she said, adding that a cynical view was that hospital management were happy to have staff eat during regular working hours at the newer coffee shops located elsewhere on the campus.
There are 3,000 staff working on the CUMH campus and the INMO has estimated as many as 200 nurses, along with 30 doctors and other staff such as care assistants and porters, work out-of-hours on a typical Saturday and Sunday.
A HSE spokesman said: "The staff dining room at CUH opens at 7.30am Monday to Friday and 9.30am on Saturday and Sunday and serves a range of hot and cold food until 2.30pm each day.
"The staff dining room reopens at 1.00am to 2.00am for the night staff to offer both hot and cold food options as well as microwave and vending facilities."
He said staff could use catering facilities in a sub-kitchen and dining areas outside of the main staff dining room, as well as on-site coffee shop facilities open until 11pm.
"The staff dining room had also been open for tea time services from 17.30 to 19.00 but this is now closed temporarily and it is hoped that this service will resume shortly," the spokesperson added.