HARDWORKING hospital staff have been given Christmas hampers containing biscuits which appear to have expired in 2015.

NHS bosses say the items were given incorrect best-before dates due to an error at the wholesalers.

People working for the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust labelled the blunder as "awful, embarrassing and rude".

Staff from various hospitals, including the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, shared photographs with The Argus which appear to show out-of-date food.

One woman said: "All the cakes in said hampers are six years out of date! Truly awful, embarrassing and rude.

The Argus: Anger over out of date biscuit hampers handed out to NHS staff.

"Need not have bothered as this is almost a final kick in the face for their lives being decimated over the pandemic.

"Someone needs to speak up and apologise and give these people the recognition they deserve."

The hampers were accompanied with a message of thanks from the trust's charities team that organised the gifts.

It appears that some hampers had items with best-before dates of March this year.

Others items appeared to expire in 2015 while some of the dates seemed to have been rubbed off.

The Argus: Anger over out of date biscuit hampers handed out to NHS staff.

One employee said: "The trust sent out hampers as a merry Christmas and thank you to all teams throughout the University Hospitals Sussex NHS trust.

"After a little look into the hampers, we were happy to have got brownies, shortbread and Christmas cakes - but further investigation revealed something astonishing.

"While the brownies were lovely, the Christmas cakes craftily had the year missing from the best-before date.

"This raised suspicions, so we checked the shortbreads and were absolutely disgusted. 2015. Six years out of date.

"What a lovely merry Christmas to people who have worked tirelessly and selflessly through the pandemic."

The Argus: Anger over out of date biscuit hampers handed out to NHS staff.

The trust has apologised for the seemingly misprinted dates.

Steve Crump, director of charities, said that the food was in fact fresh.

He said: “Our colleagues across University Hospitals Sussex do an incredible job and we wanted to make a gesture of thanks to show our appreciation for their efforts.

"We hoped traditional Christmas fare of fresh shortbread biscuits, cake and brownies would do just that.

"Unfortunately, an error at the wholesalers who supplied the products resulted in an incorrect best-before date on around 100 of the packaged biscuits.

“While all the food was fresh, we completely understand and share the disappointment which we hope hasn’t undermined the sentiment behind the gesture.

"We can only apologise and we will work with all our suppliers to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

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