Friends hopeful they will have ‘good presence’ at Worthing hospital

The Friends of Worthing hospitals have raised funds for equipment at the hospital

The Friends of Worthing hospitals have raised funds for equipment at the hospital

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The Friends of Worthing hospital are hopeful they will be able to make new catering arrangements ‘work for the benefit of all’.

Last week it was announced that the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Worthing, Southlands and St Richard’s hospitals, had awarded a new retail catering contract to Compass Group which will see Costa Coffee, DeliMarche, a Spice of Life restaurant and convenience retailer Amigo introduced to all three sites.

A first meeting between the Trust and the Friends of Worthing hospital was held on Wednesday to discuss the implications of the new contract for the charity.

Ron Noakes, chairman of the group, said there were one or two things to iron out but that he was ‘much happier’ following the meeting.

“We are quite excited that we can hopefully put a very good unit together to benefit patients at Worthing,” he said.

“We will focus on taking trolleys around wards, which is something that is required and is always looked forward to by patients, and having a good presence in the hospital.”

He said the Friends would keep and possibly extend the coffee bar in the North Wing of the hospital, adding: “Our aim is to make it work for the benefit of all.”

David Jones, director of facilities, estates and capital at the trust, said: “We have the greatest admiration and appreciation for all that our Friends and volunteers do. We understand change is often difficult, but we are committed to doing all we can to help the Friends organisations maintain fundraising activities at the Trust.

“In Worthing this means supporting the Friends of Worthing Hospital to upgrade their facilities in the North Wing.”

He said the new retail catering contract will offer an initial £1.1m investment in new retail catering facilities and secure an ‘ongoing, guaranteed’ yearly income of £450,000, which is around three times as much as the Friends’ shops generate each year.

At Worthing Hospital, funding for the first year will pay for the replacement of high-value radiology and ultrasound equipment and ward refurbishment, he said.

“A fundamental element of the contract is also that the new suppliers continue to provide the same high standards of personal service that has made our Friends so successful.

“We know the Friends want to do the best for our patients and believe the best possible outcome is that the new catering suppliers and our Friends work side by side,” he said.

The League of Friends at Southlands hospital will meet with the trust next week.

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Go to www.worthingherald.co.uk/christmas/