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21 January 2004

Petition calls for better quality food in hospitals and more pay for chefs

A petition in support of the "NHS food for good" campaign launched by health care union UNISON is to be presented to Michael McMahon MSP, Convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee today.

The petition with hundreds of signatures from NHS Chefs, catering and other health staff will be presented by Raymond Marshall and Lilian Macer - two chefs working in the NHS - and Simon Macfarlane, UNISON's Officer for NHS Ancillary workers at 12.45 pm in the Black & White Corridor.

The "Food for Good" Charter, has been supported by 37 MSP's, a number of other organisations and even attracted the backing of Egon Ronay! It calls on the Scottish Executive to deliver a nutritious and healthy diet to NHS patients, supplied from safe, high quality suppliers and prepared by properly trained and paid chefs.

Simon Macfarlane said "Whilst we welcome a number of the efforts the Scottish Executive has already made to promote healthy eating, what needs to be addressed quickly are, firstly, the need for meals to be delivered by well-run, properly resourced public provision, rather than purely cost-driven private providers, and secondly the need for the Executive to build on the low pay agreement reached in the NHS in 2003 and to recognise that Chefs must be paid for the valuable craft they bring to the Health Service.

"It is clear from the recent Scottish Low Pay Unit report that low pay is a problem in catering in general, and this is also true in the NHS. We must address this if we are serious about recruiting and retaining staff who can deliver food to the standards necessary for the health and welfare of patients."

UNISON is campaigning for NHS catering to become a beacon of high quality and a driver for improvement in health and the food economy of Scotland.


For Further Information Please Contact: Simon Macfarlane(UNISON officer - Anc Staff)0845 355 0845(w) 07931 365 263(m)

Food for Good Campaign pages