11 years after SNP replaced Labour outsourcing folly on hospital catering, food-related disease outbreaks wiped out

This week Labour’s Monica Lennon asked the Scottish Government how much each NHS board pays to private contractors for hospital catering services. (S5W-24708). Jeanne Freeman’s response in a table showed that around 11 million was outsourced. I was reminded then of how Labour had started all this and the SNP had begun to put a stop to it in 2008:

The Scottish Government today banned private contractors from tendering for catering and cleaning deals at NHS hospitals with immediate effect. In a guidance note to Scotland’s 14 health authorities, John Matheson, director of health finance at the Health Finance Directorate, stated that cleaning and catering played a key role in the delivery of clinical services in the NHS in Scotland. Existing contracts for the provision of services are not affected by this guidance. Last year Scotland spent £46m on catering at its 64 general hospitals, although this figure includes both public and private caterers. 

Most important however was this intention in 2008:

The [SNP] secretary claims bringing catering and soft service in house are the only effective way to eradicate super-bugs, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile from Scotland’s hospitals.


Then in June 2019, Labour’s Lennon asked how many hospital-acquired infections have been connected to food products. The SNP Health Secretary was able to reply that there had been NO hospital-related foodborne outbreaks in the past five years.


So, 11 years after the SNP began to replace Labour privatisation folly on hospital catering, where they legally could do so, food-related disease outbreaks have been wiped out.

Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

4 thoughts on “11 years after SNP replaced Labour outsourcing folly on hospital catering, food-related disease outbreaks wiped out

  1. Dear Prof.

    Although the outsourcing of hospital meals has ended, ie all food for patients is now cooked on-site whereas before it was cooked all over the U.K., chilled and then delivered to the site, most catering operations in Scottish hospitals are still privately owned and run. Most hospital kitchens although within NHS buildings are staffed and run by the likes of Serco etc.
    So your heading may be a little
    mis-leading in that people may read it as hospital food operations are ‘NHS’ run.


    1. Grant Brown,

      I was about to make the point you have made.

      I work voluntarily in the grounds of a hospital creating a garden in which fruit and vegetables are produced. Alas, none of this produce is used in the kitchens. Since, otherwise, the produce would go to waste, much of it is taken by the volunteers. It is of good quality and none of us has suffered any ‘gippy tummies’ as a result of eating it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. More babies getting the immense benefits of breastfeeding. Yet another good thing being promoted by the activist SNP Scottish Govt as we continue, together, to build our new and better land: Link and snippet below

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-49609371?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health&link location=live-reporting-story

    Eight in 10 mothers in Edinburgh and the Lothians now begin their babies lives by breastfeeding them.
    Latest figures from NHS Lothian showed a rise from 76.8% to 79.6% in the past two years.

    Health officials said they had recorded a rise in mothers breastfeeding their children over the past six years.

    It comes as the health board joined forces with the National Childbirth Trust to open a new drop-in service in Edinburgh for breastfeeding mums.

    One of the volunteers from the group said: “It’s been very exciting to be able to help new mums and the venue has been fantastic. There is plenty of room for all the mums and their babies and even space for the older kids to play.”


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