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Yorkton: CUPE health workers are urging local residents to speak-out against the health regions plan to reduce the kitchen at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre and serve up a menu of rethermalized food.

Yorkton and area residents must let the Sunrise Health Region Board know they have no appetite for re-thermalized food and want to see our kitchen maintained at the YRHC, says CUPE Local 4980 President Pearl Blommaert.

Under the health regions half-baked scheme, the hospital kitchen would be reduced to a storage facility for chill blasted food, which would be delivered two or three times a week from the Multi Purpose Facility. The hospital kitchen also would double as a cafeteria for visitors and patients.

Dietary workers, members of CUPE 4980, are upset with the proposal, saying it will result in the loss of jobs, the loss of menu choice and the loss of nutrition.

The health region has suggested its wasteful and inefficient to maintain a fully operational kitchen at the YRHC, but the CUPE local president disagrees.

Theres no substitute for good nutrition, especially when you are ill or recovering from surgery, Blommaert says. For patients, poor nutrition is linked to increased infections, anaemia and slower healing, she adds.

Instead of improving dietary services at the hospital by providing more nutritious fresh food, the health region is moving in the opposite direction, she says. We hear that one of the biggest problems with re-thermalized food is getting patients to eat it.

The union is petitioning the health region board to reconsider its decision slated to take effect in May.

Blommaert is hopeful the board will listen. Regina residents successfully persuaded their health region board to drop its plan to close two hospital kitchens and move to a rethermalized food system. We hope to be successful too.

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For more information contact: Pearl Blommaert: 621-5057