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Hospital’s £118,000 clean sweep

11 April 2013

Environment

A £118,000 shopping list for additional cleaning equipment will bring new vacuum cleaners, buffers, scrubbing and steaming machines to Southend University Hospital.

The delivery in the next two weeks is part of a reorganisation of cleaning, catering and hospitality services at the hospital.

Current caterers, Medirest, who have provided patient meals and refreshments in the visitors' restaurant for the past 13 years, have been selected as the preferred bidder to retain the contract. The decision is due to be ratified at the hospital board meeting later this month. The contract could also see Medirest taking over the catering hostesses who prepare and serve meals and hot drinks to patients on the wards. Catering assistants currently employed by the hospital to carry out this role would be able to transfer to Medirest on their existing terms and conditions. Those who prefer to remain as a member of hospital staff will be given the opportunity to apply for one of the additional 60 full-time domestic assistants which are being recruited to the cleaning service over the next six months. However, no final decision will be taken on this before staff have been fully consulted.

Colin Cadwallader, director of estates and facilities, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to improve our patients' and visitors' experience of coming into our hospital by enhancing and modernising our catering and cleaning services, while at the same time ensuring value for money and reducing waste. We are delighted that Medirest has been selected as our preferred bidder and will be working closely with the company to agree the new contract. We believe it makes sense to have them take over responsibility for the entire ward-based meal service - from preparation to patient bedside.

 "We will be liaising closely with staff and the unions to ensure everyone is kept fully informed of our proposals and can get answers to any questions they may have. To help with this, we have organised a series of roadshows in the coming week."