A NEW ‘drinks and snacks’ trolley service has started at Wharfedale Hospital.

The move has been hailed by the volunteers who are running the service as ‘a victory for common sense’. It will see patients throughout the hospital offered refreshments twice a day, Monday to Friday.

The new service, which started on Monday, September 16, has been brought in just months after the RVS’ long-running tea/coffee bar at the Otley hospital was closed: a decision which proved contentious and saw thousands of people signing a petition opposing it.

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West), who visited on Monday to see the trolley service in operation, said: “I was delighted to pop in and visit the volunteers and their new service. I saw first-hand how they are bringing smiles to the faces of patients, not only with the service but with their cheerful conversation and positive nature.

“It was a great shame to see the coffee bar removed from the hospital and I am delighted that this solution was found. It is especially good news for the many patients with mobility issues who now have the service come to them.”

Among the RVS volunteers who will be running the service - on a rota basis - is RVS veteran Anne Walker.

She said: “This is a victory for common sense really. It came about through talks with the Trust after we lost the tea bar. The good thing is that all the money we will be making will go back to the hospital.

“We will be going around the wards and a lot of the things we’ll be selling are the same as those we offered at the tea bar - although we won’t have the hot drinks available until next week.”

A Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust spokesperson added: “We are very pleased to announce the launch of the new Wharfedale Hospital trolley service for patients, visitors and staff . Following the closure of the RVS service the Trust has been actively working to retain as many of the original volunteers as possible to help provide the new service because of their unrivalled experience and passion to support the hospital.

“Nine have already signed up and we’re extremely grateful. All profits will come back to the Trust so this is something that will not only help the patients but benefit patient care, too.”