Dorset County Hospital cafe volunteers to be replaced

Volunteers at Dorset County Hospital have criticised a decision to remove their role running the cafe.

The hospital's catering department will run the cafe for staff, patients and visitors to maximise revenue from 2012.

Volunteer Clive Birch said: "There is something very special offered by a volunteer, rather than someone employed just to serve the coffee."

The hospital's management said it hoped volunteers would expand their work in other areas of the hospital.

Mr Birch said the 42 volunteers of the Friends of Dorset Hospital were upset by the move.

"Our disappointment is that it seems like volunteers who have given amazing service have been pushed aside and shown a little disrespect," he said.

"I don't think that was the hospital's intention, but that was the feeling that came through."

Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust chief executive Jean O'Callaghan said it was "very unusual" to have a hospital cafe run entirely by volunteers.

She said the cafe would be run as part of "one co-ordinated catering service for the hospital" and would not need more staff to be employed to replace the volunteers.

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