Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: shlaxwing.com – text by whatifdunedin

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, Democracy, Hot air

58 responses to “Worsted

  1. Elizabeth


    • Hype O'Thermia

      I may have come upon the answer to the puzzle of why some people do not find the taste of hospital food repulsive.
      Friend recently in hospital several times for cancer surgery and complications described the appearance – dried substance surrounded by dried sauce – flavour, “soup” mushroom, or chicken, or… perhaps exactly what it tasted of, flour and salted water.
      But it was something else that rang a bell. “A horrible taste, or feeling, on the sides of my tongue.”
      Yesterday discussed this with a friend who was starting his chef career in the 1980s. We both remembered the powdered stock/soup in common use at the time, big tins for catering, also packaged smaller for home use. Where I worked the “chef” used to dump for washing all the trays meat had been roasted in and instead of using the rich brown meat residues he boiled up a pot of this packaged stuff. And it had that horrible metallic effect, taste or feeling, on the side of our tongues.

      Both of us had come from homes where gravy was made the proper way with pan juices and drippings.

      But if you came from a family home >> student hostel >> flat >> own home where “gravy” meant that instant substance you’d think that’s what meaty foods were supposed to taste like. That would be the authentic flavour of “like Mother used to make” and you’d wonder why anyone wasn’t happy with it.

      Especially when your “same as patients’ dinner” meal wasn’t rubbery and dried out.

      Dr John Chambers had some interesting things to say about the meal the day media came to dinner few days ago – and how steep was the quality descent back to “Compass standard issue” the next day!

  2. Elizabeth

    I wanna cry

    • Diane Yeldon

      The problem here is that this service is centralised when it would be much better distributed. For example, my great-grandmother lived with my mother but my grandmother (who lived across the road) always cooked an extra dinner at night which one of us kids carried across the road and up to Great-grandma’s room. Even though families now usually live distances apart, must be plenty of households where family meals are being cooked every night. And seniors living nearby who would benefit from a well-cooked, home-made dinner. Just a matter of setting up two databases and matching people.

  3. ab

    Aye, Captain.
    Where are we?
    Worstead, capn.
    WORSTED! Capn
    You dunderhead! I said WORSER Bay, Port Nick.
    Never mind, capn. Have this tasty mess. It’s got wool in it.

  4. Gurglars

    Never forget-
    Richard Thomson voted to feed ill and old people with this pap.

    Your Dad, Your Mum and ultimately YOU.

    The Compass decision is just the nadir of a disgraceful series of decision making by executives and the board of the SDHB.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Post-colonial Goose, please!

  6. Elizabeth


    Cyclops with spear in eye words added [Douglas Field 9.4.16] 1

    Douglas Field 9.4.16

  7. Elizabeth

    Wards, capn?
    West. Norfolk.

    Sharpn up, Norfolk!

  8. @Elizabeth
    April 9, 2016 at 9:34 pm
    You ask “Where were the three vegetables of different colours”.
    They were three shades of grey.
    I’ll get my coat.

  9. pb

    My free meals only came when I sponged off my Mum. Who eats for free? Why don’t the patients simply pay for their own meals, choose which restaurant provides the fare, then vote with their feet when the food isn’t up to scratch. Perhaps there may be a dozen restaurants, motels, catering services nearby that will provide meals as required. All bound by the need to provide value, or their customer walks to the restaurant next door. The hospitals only provide a channelling service. Or perhaps setup the hospital as an agent on Tripadvisor and let patients rate their meals in public. The cold glare of truthiness might change things very quickly. You get what you pay for. When you pay nothing, you get brown slop.

    • ab

      Except..the voting with feet and the walking next door. It’s not a goer. But, you may be right. Even patients at death’s door should take personal responsibility. Not to mention Doctor De’Ath’s Door.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    pb, are you a taxpayer? If so, where do you think that money goes? Income tax, GST, fuel tax, soon to be ‘sugar tax’. Some of that (in fact a lot) goes to the health vote, to pay for the exorbitant bureaucracies, then there is the odd hip replacement (on a good day) followed by Compass meals (such as they are). So, pb, ‘why don’t the patients pay for their own meals? Answer, they already have, and look what they are getting.

    • pb

      The idea that we paid for government care during our working years would be fine if government were frugal and diligent with money. We all fall off the budget wagon so quickly. The government tax pot is bare, just filled with IOU notes to pay for promises that can never be met. This website touches many on a local scale – stadium, cycling paths, starry-eyed subdivision failures – the same will occur on the national scale. No great omnipotent accountant is sitting there allocated 0.5% of Calvin’s tax aside for a half decent hospital meal in 30 years. It goes into the great pig trough of public funds to be sucked dry by tyrants dressed as politicians. I suspect a well-run bureaucracy could provide a great meal, but a well-run bureaucracy is difficult to find. I feel my arthritic fingers & knees groaning now, I’d better put something aside, because the state hasn’t.

  11. Elizabeth

    See tomorrow’s ODT:
    The SDHB says there’s clearly a problem with hospital meals and Compass will be taken to task.


    Compass talks BS.

    Labour MPs have rubbished the claims of Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that the food served in Dunedin Hospital is “10 out of 10”.

    Mon, 11 Apr 2016
    ODT: MPs slam ‘sham’ taste test
    A Compass Group spokeswoman said the provider had made changes in improve the meals. […] “Since the new menu was implemented, the team have reviewed on a daily basis the presentation of each of the menu items,” she said. […] “I can categorically confirm that the food Dr Coleman ate was the same food prepared in the kitchen for the patient meal service and was plated … just as patient meals were.”

  12. Elizabeth

    Dragged kicking and screaming by NATIONAL public pressure and EXPOSURE —thanks to strenuous MSM and social media attention brought to the SDHB. Shove that up your direction finding.

    Tue, 12 Apr 2016
    ODT: ‘Clearly’ issue with hospital food
    The Southern District Health Board is “absolutely” holding the Compass Group to account over the standard of Dunedin Hospital meals, but specific details and clauses in the 15-year contract with the multinational remain obscure. “There’ll be mechanisms in the contract that talk about standards, and we will look at that contract to hold Compass to account for delivering that contract,” chief executive Carole Heatly told the Otago Daily Times in an interview yesterday.


    Staff voting with their feet and coin purses, sadly for the staff member made redundant.

    Tue, 12 Apr 2016
    ODT: Lack of cafe custom costs job
    Compass Group has made a food manager redundant in Dunedin because of a lack of custom at hospital staff cafes. As part of its 15-year hospital food deal with Southern District Health Board, the company took over the staff cafes last October.

  13. Elizabeth

    “It was the texture and the taste and the way they looked, everything.”

    Wed, 13 Apr 2016
    ODT: Hospital meals: Minister ‘has to man up’
    A Dunedin woman whose son provided her with meals during a stay in Dunedin Hospital is calling on the Health Minister to change his attitude.
    Pat Tillard says she continued to be served the Compass Group hospital meals, and photographed them each day, but ate food brought by her son during her six-day stay.

  14. Elizabeth


    Fri, 15 Apr 2016
    ODT: Patients aren’t angry – Coleman
    Dunedin Hospital patients were not angry about the quality of meals, Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said in Parliament yesterday. […] He later said he was “relieved that this is the biggest health issue in New Zealand”. […] He was not aware that, as a result of complaints, Compass had appointed two patient experience co-ordinators to monitor feedback on meals from staff and patients.


    Thu, 14 Apr 2016
    ODT: Medical union looking at food in cafes
    A medical union whose members are entitled to free meals is conducting a survey because of concern hospital cafes are not up to scratch under the management of the Compass Group. It comes as the multinational announced it was responding to the “unprecedented” attention to its patient meals in Dunedin by introducing “patient experience co-ordinators” to monitor feedback. […] In a statement entitled “Compass responds to feedback from Dunedin community”, it said the “patient experience co-ordinators” would allow staff and patients to provide immediate feedback, and would improve the company’s responsiveness to feedback.

    • Kleinefeldmaus

      Is ‘feedback’ a euphemism for vomit? just ask’n – and are ‘patient experienced co-ordinators’ for feedback really cleaning ladies with mops and buckets?

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    “He was not aware” – Coleman in a nutshell.
    Nut shell: sheltered environment for nut.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    “He later said he was “relieved that this is the biggest health issue in New Zealand”. ”
    Nut speaks from fully insulated sheltered workplace.

  17. Elizabeth

    Sun, 17 Apr 2016
    ODT: Meal delivery under pressure
    The workload for Age Concern’s Meals on Wheels co-ordinator has almost doubled since Compass took over preparation of the subsidised meals for the Southern District Health Board at the end of January. Age Concern’s chief executive, Susan Davidson, said her co-ordinator previously spent about 22 hours a week on the work, but now it was a full-time job.

    ● Home of St Barnabas Trust general manager Shirley Hennessy said an extra cook had been employed to help cope with extra demand.

  18. Elizabeth

    Mon, 18 Apr 2016
    ODT Editorial: How much is a matter of taste?
    The issue of the Compass Group’s frozen hospital meals has heated up again. Southern District Health Board chief executive Carole Heatly last week admitted “there clearly is an issue with the food” and Compass agreed to introduce two meal monitors to improve the company’s responsiveness.

    ● Hospital patients have apparently resorted to buying food from the main private cafe in the hospital or eating meals provided by friends and relatives.

    ● It seems staff in the Dunedin and Wakari hospital cafeterias are also withholding their custom, possibly resulting in reduced profit and contributing to a staff redundancy.

    ● And in February this newspaper revealed a quarter of the 200-or-so Meals on Wheels recipients had opted out of the service. Numbers have dropped further, and 109 are now ordering the meals.

  19. Elizabeth


  20. Elizabeth

    MEMO (18 March): “Many [mental health] patients are in hospital for long periods of time, sometimes years, many are subject to legislation and are unable to go out to get any food other than what is provided for them by the food service.”

    Tue, 19 Apr 2016
    ODT: Patient meals ‘a safety issue’
    The poor quality of patient meals had become a “staff safety issue” in mental health wards in Dunedin and Invercargill, and some patients had lashed out, causing property damage, an internal Southern District Health Board memo reveals. […] The memo was sent from the leadership team, including medical director Dr Brad Strong, to the women’s, children’s and public health directorate, which has oversight of the food service.

  21. Elizabeth

    Carole Heatly should exit her job at SDHB same time Compass are ditched.

  22. Calvin Oaten

    Eileen Goodwin will become ‘persona non gratis’ around that building, unless in order to pacify her, Carole Heatly might invite her to lunch. On second thoughts, not a good idea.

  23. Elizabeth

    Garrick Tremain – 19 Apr 2016

  24. Elizabeth

    It’s political – but really, our people just need Good Food.

    Thu, 21 Apr 2016
    ODT: Group formed to protest hospital meals
    Three opposition parties have joined forces to organise a protest calling on the Southern District Health Board to cancel its food service contract with the Compass Group. The protest will be held outside Dunedin Hospital on April 29, at noon. The Labour Party, Green Party and New Zealand First have formed a group called Real Meals Coalition, which was announced in a press release yesterday. The coalition also includes Unions Otago, Unions Southland and Grey Power Southland.

    Story so far (via ODT)

    2008: Upgrade worth nearly $1m equips Dunedin Hospital as regional food hub.

    2012-13: $350,000 spent on Dunedin Hospital food management and menu system.

    2013: Government entity Health Benefits Ltd (now defunct) conceives national outsourcing plan with Compass Group, but settles on less ambitious plan boards could enter individually.

    2013-14: Scheme plagued by delays and unions demand more information.

    Early 2015: Southern DHB discloses that some meals will be trucked frozen from Auckland.

    May, 2015: The board approves outsourcing of food service.

    October 2015: Compass Group takes over Dunedin Hospital kitchen.

    Early 2016: Implementation of Compass food model at SDHB has multiple problems. Nationally, six health boards have joined the Compass contract at various stages of implementation.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Is it political to say children need to be fed nutritious food regularly? What’s political about saying old people and sick people need decent food too?

  26. Calvin Oaten

    Notice the usually verbose commissioner, who also double dips as a DCC councillor is strangely silent on this, the hospital meals controversy. Doubly so, as he was one of the decision makers advocating the Compass deal. Another one of his f…ups for the record.

  27. Gurglars

    This could solve all of the problems of the SDHB.

    If they poison or starve to death all of the patients at the hospitals they will be able to meet the budgets and keep paying the CEO $540,000 per annum and pay the commissioner $1400 per day and the person that made the decision to introduce the slops $900 per day and the other commissioner also some responsibility at $900 per day.

    Surely, that result will be a win/win for the SDHB, monumental masons, funeral directors, the ODT personal column.

    10,000 jobs at an increase of $10,000 per average income over ten years.

    Thanks SDHB.

  28. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Thu, 21 Apr 2016 6:41 pm
    Protest group forms over SDHB food
    A new group has formed in protest of the meals being served to Southern District Health Board patients. The SDHB’s 15-year contract with Compass Group is at the heart of contention. The newly-formed Real Meals Coalition is calling on the board to end the contract and serve locally-made food. A protest is being planned for outside Dunedin Hospital at midday on the 29th of April. The coalition includes people from Grey Power, as well as representatives of various unions and political parties.
    Ch39 Video

  29. Elizabeth

    YOU were weak and ill-thought, Ms Crowther

    Mon, 25 Apr 2016
    ODT: Hospital kitchen choice regretted
    [Kaye Crowther] A former Southern District Health Board member has spoken out about the hospital kitchen outsourcing, saying she wishes she had voted against it, but at the time felt there was little choice. […] she wished she had “voted the same as Mary Gamble”, an outspoken member who publicly warned against the move.

    Only one other board member, Dr John Chambers, voted against outsourcing to Compass.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Credit for saying “I was wrong.”
      Not a lot of that, these days. It’s a change from loyal (or cowardly) groupspeak and “unavailable for comment”.

      • Elizabeth

        Will say yeah-correcto! when Compass is ditched and when we get Dunedin cooks and kitchen staff back on contract !!

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Hey, look on the bright side. People may be disabled and in constant pain but at least they’re spared the insult of being served hospital food:
      “…Wairarapa had the highest recorded rate of acceptances – at 100% – while Hutt Valley and the Southern DHBs had the lowest, ranging from 71% to 88%.”

      “Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the “National Patient Flow” project, to record those turned away from seeing a specialist, will help the health sector better understand the needs that aren’t being met.
      Hundreds more patients than initially thought are being turned away from the operating table, new figures show.”

      • Gurglars

        I think I’d rather see more staff on surgical duty than recording the inefficiencies or ineptness of the existing. The emphasis on employing counters and report writers rather than professionally qualified do-ers seems endemic in Dunedin.

        I suppose it is very difficult to create an empire if you are a surgeon and empires are the only way forward for the architects of the 10,000, $10,000 school of philosophy.

        Perhaps our great climate change believer would achieve more by getting out of the way of businesses. Businesses create real productive jobs – bureaucracies just create tax and ratepayer debt.

  30. Elizabeth

    Local government SOUTH knows how to PROTEST

    Tue, 26 Apr 2016 at 9:09 p.m.

    Any support from Dunedin mayor?


    Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt and Deputy Mayor Darren Ludlow are supporting the Real Meals Coalition fight to reinstate in-house food services at Southern DHB hospitals.

  31. Elizabeth

    The PUBLIC protest is on Friday 29 April at noon outside Dunedin Hospital.

    Wed, 27 Apr 2016
    ODT: Meeting to discuss food protest
    Southern District Health Board bosses have requested a meeting with Dunedin South MP Clare Curran this morning to discuss the food service protest. The protest is on Friday at noon outside Dunedin Hospital. It comes as protest organisers confirmed Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt and deputy mayor Darren Ludlow are supporting the call for the Compass Group food services contract to be terminated. The health board commissioner team and chief executive Carole Heatly had arranged the meeting as a ‘‘catch-up” with Ms Curran, but it was likely to be about the protest, she said.


    Compass Group NZ is committed to the people of Dunedin. –Julian Baldey, Compass COO

    Wed, 27 Apr 2016
    ODT: Committed to providing equal, if not better, service
    By Julian Baldey
    OPINION It is a matter of public record that many in the local community were not in favour of changes to the food services at Southern District Health Board (SDHB). Compass Group NZ has always been committed to providing an equal if not better food service, for a lower cost. Patients and families can be assured that the projected cost savings are being achieved through better buying contracts and a streamlined food service, not a reduction in food quality. Meals today are very similar to before and are prepared and served by the same staff. Previously, main protein items were cooked and chilled then reheated for the food service, and other menu items were prepared from fresh, frozen and chilled foods.


    It is important to bring some balance to the discussion around Dunedin Hospital’s meals. –Carole Heatly, SDHB CE

    Wed, 27 Apr 2016
    ODT: Patients and families’ anxiety levels being raised unnecessarily
    By Carole Heatly
    OPINION A coalition of political groups has called upon the people of Dunedin to protest the food being served at Dunedin Hospital, and for the SDHB to exit its partnership with its contracted provider Compass. In the midst of the noise around this issue, misunderstandings and misinformation have developed which I would like to address. Firstly, to our patients who have not enjoyed their food at the DHB, we hear your concerns and are committed to addressing them. We are also concerned for another group of people, whose voices have been less publicly heard. These are our patients and families, already facing the health worries that have brought them to us, whose anxiety levels are being raised unnecessarily.

  32. Hype O'Thermia

    “These are our patients and families, already facing the health worries that have brought them to us, whose anxiety levels are being raised unnecessarily.” Horse, meet cart. Cart, meet horse.
    It’s their revulsion levels that are raised unnecessarily, and that happens when the food is presented to them.
    Knowing ahead of time is an advantage since they can arrange for meals to be brought in to maximise opportunity to make good recoveries from whatever condition they were admitted for.

  33. Elizabeth

    Garrick Tremain – 28 Apr 2016

  34. Elizabeth

    Otago Daily Times 29.4.15

    Chants included “Kick Compass Out” and placards included “Where’s Your Moral Compass”.

    Fri, 29 Apr 2016
    ODT: Food protest: ‘Stop the slop’
    About 300 people carrying signs with slogans including ‘Stop the slop’ staged a protest today about the quality of Dunedin Hospital food. The protest, organised by the Real Meals Coalition, called on the Southern District Health Board to cancel its food service contract with the Compass Group. The coalition was led by the Labour Party, Green Party and New Zealand First and includes Unions Otago, Unions Southland and Grey Power Southland.

    Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt told the crowd Otago and Southland stood together to save neurosurgical services in 2010, and would win the fight against the poor quality hospital food.

  35. Hype O'Thermia

    Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt had indeed made the journey from Invercargill to support his people’s call for decent food to be provided to patients.
    Dunedin’s mayor was noticeable by his absence.
    Also unseen was Councillor Richard Thomson, who is now a deputy commissioner at the Southern District Health Board.

    • russandbev

      Cull has already stated that he doesn’t have a view – or presumably a thought – on the issue of Compass food as its not a ratepayer issue. Where does he think most of the patients of the Dunedin Hospital come from? Presumably he was tucked away in his office watching from the warm and dry as all of the people marched in the cold and rain. And as for Thomson – well, enough said. Just how many salaries is this guy getting? For what exactly? No need at all to show up anywhere.

  36. Elizabeth

    RNZ News:
    28.4.16 Taking a tour of Dunedin Hospital’s kitchens
    29.4.16 Hundreds protest against hospital food

    RNZ Checkpoint Audio (today):
    Protestors gather at Dunedin Hospital over food
    Hundreds turn out to oppose Compass hospital food
    Compass again defends quality of food, following protest

    Friday, 29 April 2016 8:49 p.m.

    Today’s protest Link
    Compass protest 29.4.16 - Facebook Stop Dunedin Hospital from being downgraded

    More photos at Facebook: Stop Dunedin Hospital from being downgraded


    Julie Brocket
    What an awesome turnout. I wished I could have been there but by the sounds of it and from what the radio said, you’ve all made a real impact and kudos to Tim Shadbolt for coming to Dunedin to support us and setting a good example to our “invisible” Mayor. Hope he realises today that for every one of us that supports this issue is a vote he will not receive.

  37. Elizabeth

    Received from Anonymous
    Tue, 3 May 2016 at 7:03 p.m.

    “Health Board is saving heaps. Meals on Wheels (MOW) are subsidised. All who have moved provider to St Barnabas do so at tremendous $cost. 

    I delivered only 3 out of 8 standard meals. The rest don’t want various Compass meals on the standard list. Have noticed meals usually lighter. The cardboard stained. The desserts stuck to sellophane. 

    I would pay more for something decent to eat. Asked the driver of the St Barnabas deliverer how many meals they deliver daily. She said usually more than 200. Only 2 Compass runs from Bath St pickup: probably under 20!”


  38. Calvin Oaten

    Maybe this was the plan all along?

  39. Hype O'Thermia

    Neighbours stopped briefly to say hi this morning. They were on the way to deliver Meals on Wheels. They have various runs, not a regular one. They said runs that used to have 18-20 meals to deliver are now down to 3 to 6. Doesn’t seem to differ from suburb to suburb, posh to poor they’ve all got tastebuds.
    I only hope that the people who are seriously poor haven’t cancelled because, forget about subsidy, they won’t waste money on food they can’t stomach, so now make do with toast and sometimes beans to go with it.

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