§ Dr. Fox
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2002,Official Report, column 451W, what significant and complex issues have been found by the Department with regard to the franchising and tendering of NHS catering. 1080W
§ Ms Blears
The national health service is the single biggest organisation in Europe. It is also one of the biggest purchasers of food.
In catering terms, the sheer size and complexity of the NHS are in themselves sufficient to raise significant issues for any examination of a franchise approach to hospital catering.
Added to this must be the need to reflect the views and preferences of a wide range of patients; the variety of size and type of hospitals for example, acute, mental health and community hospitals; staffing issues; issues about purchasing models and value for money; the geographical dispersion of hospitals; the wide range of nutritional needs presented by patients—including diets for cultural, religious and clinical needs; the variety of catering systems currently in use and the impact of European Union requirements.