Australian businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, but private hospitals are doing their best to support local communities.
More than 30 facilities across the Ramsay Health Care group have been buying staff food from local restaurants, cafes, bakeries and suppliers.
“Many of our hospitals and clinics felt strongly about reaching out to provide a financial shot in the arm for local businesses to help keep them afloat,” Ramsay Australia CEO Danny Sims said.
He said it followed the ‘Ramsay Way’ – a corporate policy of people caring for people.
“It’s important for us to continue to care, respect and support one another during these challenging times – both within our facilities and also more broadly in the community,” Mr Sims added.
Easter provided the perfect chance to give staff a treat and keep local firms going.
Greenslopes Private Hospital ordered 200kg of chocolate eggs, while Dudley Private Hospital bought 1,200 hot cross buns, and North Shore Private Hospital purchased 500, from their local bakeries.
“The order from Dudley Private Hospital means we can give our bakers a few more hours of work, and it’s a great injection of cash for the business,” bakery manager Taylor Stevenson said.
Burgers have proved popular in New South Wales: Wollongong Private Hospital bought 400 across two days for its staff, while executives at Southern Highlands Private Hospital picked up and distributed 75 – one for each employee – and Nowra Private Hospital similarly provided for its 55 workers.
Queensland’s North West Private Hospital also ordered 120 gourmet burger meals for its staff.
Lake Macquarie and Warners Bay Private Hospitals went big on donuts, ordering 410 between them from a local bakery.
“So far, we’ve been able to keep our doors open and all 16 staff employed thanks to the wonderful support from the community,” its owner Anna Farthing said.
In Western Australia, Joondalup Health Campus ordered 50 home-cooked meals for staff to support a struggling local caterer.
“Within the space of about 48 hours, we had all of our functions for April, May and June cancelled,” said Deb Cunniffe, co-owner of her family business for over 20 years.
Cairns Private Hospital, along with its day surgery and therapy clinic, has ordered hundreds of staff meals from a local restaurant that can no longer provide dine-in options.
“This initiative is fantastic at helping businesses like ours survive this difficult time,” the restaurant's co-owner Craig Squires said. “All of the ingredients we use in our dishes are sourced from local producers, so this is helping farmers and growers across the region as well.”
Hospitals have also been supporting on-site caterers, who have been hit by a reduction in patient visitors.
“In the past few weeks I’ve seen a 50-60 percent drop in sales and I’ve had to lay off staff,” said Angus Mao, who runs an independent cafe at Mt Wilga Private Hospital, where staff have been treated to morning tea by CEO Lorrie Mohsen.
“I am so appreciative of the support from Lorrie and her team – the injection of cash will help me to meet ongoing costs over the coming weeks,” Mr Mao added.