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Cutbacks mean no hot food for nurses; HEALTHCARE.


UNDER-pressure nurses had to leave the Royal Victoria Hospital to buy Pot Noodles after staff cutbacks left canteens without hot food.

And furious unions warned yesterday that staff shortages are to get worse at the Belfast hospital as bosses struggle to control a multimillion pound hole in their budget.

The Royal's main canteen stopped serving hot food at 6pm on Monday leaving only soup and sandwiches after staff were re-deployed to help feed patients.

But one nurse told the Mirror that by the time many of them got a break there was nothing left but crisps and chocolate in vending machines.

The angry worker added: "In this job you can't just walk out when you feel peckish - you have to wait until you get a free minute and there's people around to look after the patients.

"If you're doing a long shift through the night you need a proper meal. It's ridiculous that this has been allowed to happen, and everyone knows it will not be the last time."

In a knock-on effect, the canteens in the children's and maternity hospitals were closed down yesterday.

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust apologised for any inconvenience.

Catherine Harte, from health union Unison, said the cuts are just the "tip of the iceberg".

She added: "The Belfast Trust is already pounds 25million in the red and they want a further 3% cut in the budget next year, so the idea that this was a one-off is nonsense."

One member of catering staff at the Royal told the Mirror she normally works with seven other people, but on Monday evening her team was cut to two.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2009
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