Foodbank created at Liverpool Women’s Hospital to help staff struggling with cost of living

Liverpool Women's Hospital
Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust runs Liverpool Women's Hospital. Credit: ITV News

A hospital trust has joined forces with a food poverty charity to provide for its staff, it has emerged.

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust is now able to offer around three trollies of food for staff each week on a "no questions asked" basis.

Tinned foods, pasta and rice, non-perishable goods and sanitary products are among the contents of the new food bank set up for struggling nurses.

It comes as new research reveals over half of NHS Trusts and Health Boards could be providing or planning to provide food banks for their staff.

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust's Chief People Officer and Deputy Chief executive, Michelle Turner, said: “We know with the pressures of the current financial climate, like many other people our staff may be finding things more difficult at the moment.

“We decided to set up a staff pantry to provide help to anyone who may need it – no questions asked."

The pantry can be accessed by staff 24/7 and has sealed and dry foods and other essential items including sanitary products.

The six NHS charities that have active foodbanks estimate that 5,000 NHS staff, including around 550 nurses, are using food banks monthly. Credit: ITV News

The running costs of the pantry are managed via the staff health and wellbeing fund, donations from staff who are able to donate, and from other partners in the city.

“So far it has been very well received and we will continue offering it for as long as it is needed," Ms Turner said.

In a 24-hour survey conducted of NHS charities who support every Trust and Health Board in the UK, 21% said they already had an active food bank available for their staff to use or are creating one.

This was the response of seven out of 34 charities that took part in the survey.

Six out of these seven charities already have active food banks, three of which were opened between October and December 2022.

The six charities estimate that nearly 5,000 NHS staff, including around 550 nurses, are using food banks on a monthly basis. It comes as cost-of-living rises affect staff members.

In the UK there are 234 NHS charities which provide extra support in every hospital and Health Board in the UK.

A further 12 NHS charities said they were exploring the possibility of a food bank in their Trust or Health Board. Credit: ITV News

In addition to foodbanks, 53% of the surveyed charities said they were looking at other types of food support for their staff.

This includes food vouchers, free breakfasts and subsidised meals in the canteen where employees can bring their families.

Ellie Orton OBE, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “As the cost of living escalates, like many employers NHS Trusts and the charities who support them are looking at ways to help staff through the crisis.

"But with pressures facing NHS workers already so extreme, it’s heartbreaking that some are having to resort to using food banks to get by.

"Right now hardship funds and support are the main topic of interest for NHS charities.

"Queries from our members range from the setting up of benevolent funds and access to travel bursaries, to the possibility of providing hot meal vouchers and other basic support, including food banks.

“As a sector we are proud to support the staff and patients of the NHS however we can, and sadly today that support is more important than ever."

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