Edwin Phillips reads a press release to the mainstream media in Wales from controversial health organisation Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) congratulating them for not covering The Eye’s revelation that they have no policy on food for Muslim patients or that officials must ‘buy in’ special meals.
From: Food Action Report Team (FART)
To: All Regional Staff Editorial (ARSE)
TIME: LUNCH HOUR
Just like one of our re-heated dinners, our congratulations to you are warm.
You have not followed up the supposed revelation on that scurrilous website The Eye that quite understandably we have no policy on Halal meat for Muslim patients, or that we must send out to Iceland to get the meals.
We applaud the candid nature of our organisation member who told the inquisitive civilian in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request: ”I can confirm that there is no formal Health Board policy regarding halal meals, including any guidance on storage, serving and information supplied on general menus”.
He was even open enough to add later: “I am able to confirm that the Health Board purchases complete halal meals from a nominated frozen food company. These are delivered in sealed containers and kept in an outer cardboard box, which are stored in the deep freeze”.
The meddlesome woman who wanted information about what goes on with our food, may be a taxpayer but as we all know this does not give her the right to find out details of the fine work inside the National Health Service (NHS) just because she pays our wages.
Other information has unfortunately been publicised in the past and this did not show us in a good light.
It underlines the importance of keeping news away from the public and within the esteemed management of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB).
The dangers of details being made public are only too apparent after we were officially criticised for an “appalling lack of weekend care” at the Royal Gwent Hospital (RGH) in Newport.
This absurd verdict came from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Nick Bennett, after the case of a man who died at our great hospital three days following his admission.
These things happen.
Note that dangerous word ‘public’ in Mr Bennett’s title.
We went through the motions of an ‘investigation’ as the ‘public’ would expect, even if the man’s daughter said it was ‘unhelpful’.
As a board we are well aware of what happens when issues are made ‘public’.
The Ann Barnes case even came to court after we had wrongly paid her £13,000.
But tribute should be paid to the openness of our board member after he told that impertinent civilian in the FOIA that meals are kept in cardboard boxes.
So the fact we have no policy to make ‘public’ on Halal meat is quite correct – as is the evidence that our special food for Muslim patients has to be bought in.
You in the mainstream media are right to ignore these minor details.
As our name implies ‘action’ is the name of the game for the public, and we have done just that by preparing to hold a discussion at the All Wales Catering Advisory Group.
This is not by any means kicking the whole issue into the long grass as our critics have claimed.
As we told that irritating taxpayer who insisted on information being made ‘public’: “I am pleased to confirm that I have reviewed your request, the original response made by the organisation and further contact has been made with the Health Board Department, which had supplied the original information”.
Our frankness should be noted by campaigners because we have also informed her: “I can confirm … that the matters you have raised regarding staff and patient guidance are planned to be discussed at the next meeting of the All Wales Catering Advisory Group to discuss the approach across NHS organisations in Wales”.
A discussion at the ‘All Wales Catering Advisory Group’ – that should sort it out.
THE END OF INFORMATION BEING MADE PUBLIC
Tomorrow – the abuse we have endured online for revealing the truth about a new Welsh independence party.