Foodbanks have opened at two Black Country hospitals as part of a package to support healthcare staff coping with the cost of living crisis.
Free hot drinks and free bread for toast or a cereal bar are also being offered to all 16,000 staff across both Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and partners The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), as well as a subsidised hot meal for £1.50 each.
The Manor Lounge at Walsall Manor Hospital and the Staff Wellbeing Hub at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital include a small food and essential items shop, while a temporary foodbank at the Manor Hospital has opened. The respective Trust charities, The RWT Charity and Well Wishers at Walsall, are supporting the foodbanks.
The Trusts were alerted to the need to support colleagues from July and August onwards after being told some were struggling to afford to come to work because of the cost of living crisis.
At New Cross, there is already a stream of regular customers at the hub for breakfast and the foodbank, while the same is expected at the Manor.
Professor David Loughton CBE, Group Chief Executive of both Trusts, recently introduced subsidised hot meals for staff at £1.50 each, available from outlets at each main hospital site.
“We have a duty of care to support our staff and their wellbeing is our focus, so this gesture has been made to support them at a challenging time for so many people in our society,” said Professor Loughton. “Sadly, there is a real need for this service, and, we’re keen to do everything we can to help our colleagues.
“By doing this we know our staff are there for our patients, and they will not be going without a small meal or access to essentials.
“We are pleased to be able to offer this but extremely concerned too; our organisations are at risk of increased staff absence due to stress and the potential of increased vacancies if colleagues cannot afford to work due to the cost of living crisis.”
The foodbanks are open to all staff, including those working in the community and Cannock Chase Hospital and West Park Hospital.
Donations of goods to both foodbanks are gratefully accepted. Anyone interested in donating should contact Amanda Winwood at Wolverhampton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Georgie Westley at Walsall at email@example.com