It will see a £1.1m overhaul of the main entrances at the three hospitals where Costa coffee, a restaurant and ‘grab and go’ shopping will be available to visitors, patients and staff.
The deal will see the Compass Group to take over the running of all the catering offerings and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says it will generate a further £450,000 a year at least to invest directly in patient services.
But the news will come as a major blow to the three Friends voluntary organisations who have run the shops and cafés across the trust for decades and have raised millions for vital equipment for all three hospitals.
They will still be offered areas within each hospital to base their fundraising activities and they will be encouraged to continue the popular ward trolleys which are so valued by patients, the hospital trust said.
The Compass Group provides retail catering in more than 50 hospitals in the UK and the new facilities will see visitors to Chichester, Worthing and Shoreham able to purchase Costa coffee, pastries and paninis from DeliMarche, a full-service Spice of Life restaurant and ‘grab and go’ shopping from convenience retailer Amigo.
David Jones, director of facilities and estates for the trust, said: “This new contract is great news for patients, visitors and staff at Western Sussex Hospitals.
“We’ll be improving the availability and choice of food and drink within our hospitals while securing additional funding for services and equipment.
“Fundamentally, it didn’t make sense for us to be operating our restaurants at a loss, when the same space could attract a significant income from an external supplier.
“It is money we could use many times over, and which we have committed to using to improve patient care.
“Patients and their visitors will still enjoy the same high standards of service, but will also benefit from improved choice, lower prices, extended opening hours and better healthy choices.”
The award of the new contract follows an extensive review of catering services and the income generated by the new food and retail outlets will fund the replacement of high value radiology and ultrasound equipment in Worthing and St Richard’s Hospitals, enabling digitised records, improved services and reduced waiting times.
Some of the money will also be used to refurbish wards in Worthing Hospital and the development of musculoskeletal services at Southlands Hospital, the trust added.
The trust said it wanted to continue to support the Friends organisations within its hospitals.
Mike Viggers, trust chairman, said: “The Friends make a valuable contribution to our hospitals, giving their time and expertise and we remain grateful for everything they do.
“We recognise that this change will affect them, which is why we’ve made it a priority to give each of them an alternative home in the hospitals.
“We are also encouraging those individuals who currently volunteer in the shops and cafés to join our 1,000-strong volunteer force to continue supporting us in providing excellent patient care.”
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