Hospital vending machines raise thousands towards patients' meals

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
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Vending machines at the borough’s hospitals are raising thousands of pounds every year to help pay for patients’ meals.

Data obtained from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed how much money is collected via the 34 vending machines across its sites.

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A total of £37,000 was made in 2017-18 after a new all-royalty contract was put out for tender and awarded.

This was a slight increase from £36,000 in the previous year, but a large drop from £67,000 in 2015-16 and £87,000 in 2014-15.

The response from the trust states the money raised forms part of the catering budget and is used to pay for patients’ meals.

Customers are able to buy hot and cold drinks, confectionary, crisps, snacks, sandwiches and fresh fruit in the vending machines.

They are located across the trust’s sites, which include Wigan Infirmary, Wrightington Hospital and Leigh Infirmary.

A trust spokesman said: “We currently have 34 vending machines across our sites.

“The income generated from these vending machines equates to approximately 1.5 per cent of our overall catering budget.

“It is because of this, and other income generated by the catering department, that as a trust we have been able to avoid reducing the patient meal service to the extent that other trusts have had to.

“Some of the vending machines are operated on a royalty basis. With these contracts, the vendor manages and services the machines, including breakdown repairs, and a royalty amount is received by the trust either on a monthly or quarterly basis.

“The vending machines which are owned by the trust were impacted by the change in coinage; due to their age it would not have been cost effective to change the mechanisms.

“While we have seen the income generated by vending machines decrease in the past few years, a new contract has recently been awarded.

“We are hopeful that from this contract we will see an increase in vending machine income in the future.”