Croydon Health Services pays £24k to get Burger King out of hospital
AN NHS trust made a £24,000 payment to kick Burger King out of Croydon University Hospital.
For 14-years the fast-food outlet was the first thing patients saw when they entered the hospital's main reception – contradicting healthy eating advice which warns people away from fatty foods.
The outlet – one of the burger chain's busiest in the UK – was finally removed at the end of last year and replaced with Costa Coffee as part of a £56,000 new-look entrance area.
Croydon Health Services (CHS), the trust which runs the hospital previously known as Mayday, said the "world had changed" since the original contract was signed in 1997, and that it had responded in kind.
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But the Advertiser can reveal hospital bosses paid a hefty price to remove Burger King.
Figures, obtained under Freedom of Information Act, show the trust paid £24,000 to Compass UK, the company operating the fast-food franchise, to cover the cost of terminating the contract.
The trust said none of money had gone to Burger King itself.
CHS is in the process of axing 200 jobs and closing four wards as it looks to save £34.7 million over the next three years.
It hopes the cost of evicting Burger King will be met by the revenue from a pharmacy which it plans to open in the last remaining retail space.
Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks welcomed its removal.
He said: "From the first time I saw the wretched burger joint, I was upset about it.
"Advertising and selling fast food, which is generally unhealthy, really grates with what a modern hospital is about.
"I've badgered successive chief executives about getting rid of the thing, so I wouldn't criticise the hospital for finally taking the right decision, though the costs are substantial."
Folake Segun, from Croydon Shadow Health Watch, an independent group representing patients, said: "Hopefully the trust will take the opportunity to properly consult with the community before bringing in such companies in the future."
The franchise agreement, signed in 1997, was between the hospital's landlord, Heathcroft Properties, and Compass UK.
CHS chief executive Nick Hulme said the trust has never had contractual control over the what is placed in the main entrance.
He added: "We made a business decision to invest in this change which will give our patients and visitors a better service."