More than 300 people have now signed a petition supporting plans to have a Subway kiosk placed in Altnagelvin Hospital.
The petition was started by local franchisees Simon and Jackie McConnell who run restaurants in Derry and Limavady.
Jackie came up with the idea for the kiosk while she was in the hospital with her son.
“We tried to get something to eat but it was very limited,” she said, “At one point all there was available was a vending machine. It can be very uncomfortable for parents staying in the hospital overnight relying on their partners to bring food in.”
The couple met a Subway franchisee in England who had opened a kiosk there and decided it would be a great idea for Altnagelvin.
“We are a local couple,” said Jackie. “And we employ local people. But if it isn’t us then there still is a need for a service like this. Put it out to tender we’d be glad to compete for it with everyone else.”
Jackie said they’ve petitioned the Trust and the department of health but with no luck.
The online petition states that the portable kiosk is a win, win situation as they could offer extended opening hours (even 24/7), the kiosk would be at no cost to the hospital to set up; the hospital would receive a monthly rent for the space used it and could create new jobs in the area.
Already the facebook page has received 1200 likes with huge messages of support.
A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust said:
“On the Altnagelvin site, in addition to the traditional hot food offered, the main restaurant includes both a very popular sandwich bar and salad counter. The Trust has introduced Grab-n-Go’ style coffee shops at two key hospital entrances, and these outlets provide a range of light snacks and sandwiches/rolls etc. As part of the ongoing quality assurance of our catering services, the Trust regularly engages with restaurant users in terms of customer satisfaction and meeting customer needs.
“The hospital site is currently undergoing significant development and this will continue for the next number of years with the construction of the new Radiotherapy Unit and the North Wing development. The Trust’s Facilities Management Team are working closely with the Strategic Capital Development Department to identify any future potential development required in catering/dining provision for our service users. It is anticipated that any future facilities will be developed in-house based on the current model of service delivery.”