VOLUNTEERS were ‘frustrated’ after one person’s complaint temporarily stopped them giving away fresh ready meals to NHS staff coming off shift at Worthing Hospital.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and a team of volunteers, have been running a shop – known as a Shopital – outside the hospital, selling Sainsbury’s goods to nurses, ambulance staff and doctors.

Someone took issue, however, when the fresh meals, provided by Focus of Shoreham, were handed out by the team.

Writing on his Twitter feed on Monday, Mr Loughton said: “Incredibly after a complaint from a member of the public to the council’s environmental health department, we are not allowed to give away fresh ready meals kindly donated by a Shoreham firm to Shopital to give away to NHS staff coming off shift.”


Some of his followers were less than impressed, describing the decision as ‘unbelievable’, ‘ridiculouss’ and ‘petty’.

One suggested NHS staff were ‘far better placed to judge level of risk’, while another asked: “When did the UK become a nation of busy-bodies?”

By Tuesday morning (March 31) a compromise had been reached – although the MP said he had been ‘obliged by environmental health to register as an official food business’ – and the team will be handing out 50 meals this evening.

Clearly annoyed by the complaint, Mr Loughton said: “Under ‘description’ on the form, there was no box to tick for ‘volunteer food supplier to critical front-line NHS staff in an emergency so don’t be so bloody stupid’.

He added: “All the volunteers were very frustrated that in the current exceptional circumstances a little common sense could not have been brought to bear.

“Especially as the food in question was being given out free by volunteers and came from a  5*-rated kitchen licensed with Adur Council – as we could have told them is actually asked.”

Shopital will continue for the next few days at least.

Adur and Worthing Councils has been contacted for comment.

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