Last month, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Southlands in Shoreham, Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, confirmed it had invited professional catering providers and retailers to put forward proposals to run the shops, as well as its in-house visitor restaurants, as part of a review into improving services.
“Overwhelmingly the response has been that people are happy with the service” Jane Ramage, chairman of Friends of Chichester hospitals.
The Friends invited people to complete a survey about their experience in the Friends’ shops, prompting an ‘overwhelming number of positive responses’ which left them ‘amazed and heartened’. In a statement, the Friends of Chichester hospitals said: “Such support and appreciation means a great deal to the volunteers who dedicate their time to helping patients and staff as well as visitors, and give a professional level of service with kindness and empathy. “The survey results show a very high level of customer satisfaction with the range of goods on offer in the Friends shop, and especially with the fact that all profits go back to the hospital through the purchase of much-needed medical equipment. “Customers recognise that the shop is integral both to the hospital community and the wider community.” According to the statement, when customers were asked whether they would prefer a high street name to be running the shop, 387 of the 388 respondents responded ‘no’. Jane Ramage, chairman of Friends of Chichester hospitals, said: “We felt we ought to do the survey to check that we had understood the situation properly.