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NHS Essex sued for £2.3m over sauce spat

Mid Essex Hospital Services National Health Trust has been hit with a £2.3m lawsuit by Compass. The contract catering giant issued the writ, saying the Trust had "grossly exaggerated" penalties that it imposed for a series of infringements which occurred at Broomfield Hospital in Broomfield and St John's Hosptial in Chelmsford.

The roll call includes:

[pie]£94,830 for operating a fridge that failed to display the correct temperature (which Compass says was being defrosted at the time)

£84,540 for a chocolate mousse that was three days past its use by date

£46,320 for a box of ketchup sachets that were out-of-date

£22,612 after a spoon was used to keep a fire door open

£20,145 for finding crumbs in a toaster.[/pie]


Compass, who ran the contract under its Medirest arm, said all the problems were quickly rectified. The caterer terminated the contract in October 2009, but is still seeking £1.68m to cover the amount it says it’s owed for the remaining five years of the agreement.


A Trust spokesman said: "We are aware of the action raised by Compass/Medirest, the former catering contractor to the Trust, and their allegations. The matter is with our lawyers and the claims will be vigorously defended."

A Compass spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.