WRVS loses contract to run hospital shop

The volunteers’ shop at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital is set to close for three weeks next month before it reopens with a whole new image.

It is believed the shop, which has been run in the Atrium at the GWH by the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service for a decade, will be taken over by Compass Group and transformed into a Costa Coffee and shop.

The shop is leased by the WRVS from The Hospital Company which own the hospital under the Private Finance Initiative. But the lease comes to an end next month.

Shortly before Christmas, the 78 volunteers who run the shop and the popular trolley service for patients, were told they had been unsuccessful in a retendering exercise for the shop. This meant it would be run by a new supplier, thought to be Compass Group, a food service and support services organisation.

The shop will close on February 28 for three weeks before reopening as part Costa Coffee and part shop.

John Clifford, WRVS area manager for Swindon, said: “WRVS can confirm the shop at the Great Western Hospital will be closing on February 28. We are in negotiations with the hospital with a view to continuing the trolley and escort services.”

Concerns have been raised by volunteers that the changes will mean the trolley service, which involves regular trips to wards to give patients a selection of refreshments, newspapers and magazines, and the escort service, which helps wheelchair users get to and from various departments and clinics around the hospital, will be lost altogether.

The Hospital Company has refused to comment.

A volunteer, who aked not to be named, said: “The shop will be shut for three weeks and then apparently it is going to be half Costa and half shop.

“There are two petitions going out at the moment to try and save the trolley service and also the escort service because there are question marks over it – the shop used to fund the escort service, the money the shop made went to that service so nobody knows what is going to happen.

“Everyone is feeling really sad about it all. Nobody can understand why it is being replaced, it was serving the patients and visitors so well.

“Rumour has it that the contract for Cafe Blue at the back of the treatment centre is coming up soon and that will apparently go to Compass too – apparently they are Carillion’s main rival and with all the bad press Carillion have had recently with the strikes and everything, people are beginning to wonder how long they will be there for.”

Comments (7)

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12:15pm Tue 15 Jan 13

Grumpy of Calne. says...

I just cant believe this can happen, I would rather give my money to the WRVS than Costa, I can only assume someones bank account has grown some what!
I just cant believe this can happen, I would rather give my money to the WRVS than Costa, I can only assume someones bank account has grown some what! Grumpy of Calne.
  • Score: 0

8:51pm Tue 15 Jan 13

dumper says...

good luck to all WRVS staff, i for one will NOT be useing costa on my monthly visit to the hospital, once again money talks, its a sad sad time.
good luck to all WRVS staff, i for one will NOT be useing costa on my monthly visit to the hospital, once again money talks, its a sad sad time. dumper
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Fri 18 Jan 13

wondering why says...

a case of accountants in control and compassion has been filed away, a sad day for the volunteers and patients.
a case of accountants in control and compassion has been filed away, a sad day for the volunteers and patients. wondering why
  • Score: 0

10:16am Sat 19 Jan 13

DevizesOldDuffer says...

It seems that the excellent services provided, for many years by the stalwart volunteers counts for nothing, strange at a time when we constantly hear the government promoting volunteering! Interesting that the WRVS will still be providing the trolley and escorting service, I assume because there's no commercial profit thus Costa not prepared to consider as part of the contract!
It seems that the excellent services provided, for many years by the stalwart volunteers counts for nothing, strange at a time when we constantly hear the government promoting volunteering! Interesting that the WRVS will still be providing the trolley and escorting service, I assume because there's no commercial profit thus Costa not prepared to consider as part of the contract! DevizesOldDuffer
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Sat 19 Jan 13

Gerrard2912 says...

I was in the shop just last week, it took absolutely ages to pay for my items as one of the staff could not operate the tills properly............


I hope that the staff are not out of work too long, but Costa Coffee is amazing and I will be looking forward to having a few Costas when I am next there in the summer!
I was in the shop just last week, it took absolutely ages to pay for my items as one of the staff could not operate the tills properly............ I hope that the staff are not out of work too long, but Costa Coffee is amazing and I will be looking forward to having a few Costas when I am next there in the summer! Gerrard2912
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Sun 20 Jan 13

Don Jones says...

Chances are that Costa are paying a fair wedge for the pitch. If they are, it seems like a good move to me.
Chances are that Costa are paying a fair wedge for the pitch. If they are, it seems like a good move to me. Don Jones
  • Score: 0

9:28pm Sun 20 Jan 13

shed says...

What's the point when there is a perfectly good cafeteria opposite it?
sells tea coffee and cooked food .

I won't go into Costa Nero or any of them as a matter of principal.

I suppose the cafeteria will be flogged of to macdonalds or horseburger king next?
What's the point when there is a perfectly good cafeteria opposite it? sells tea coffee and cooked food . I won't go into Costa Nero or any of them as a matter of principal. I suppose the cafeteria will be flogged of to macdonalds or horseburger king next? shed
  • Score: 0

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