Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Burger chain at hospital closes

Burger King
Burger King said it was working with staff to employ them in other outlets

Burger King is closing its restaurant at a South Yorkshire hospital amid claims that it is an inappropriate place for a fast-food chain.

Health professionals have put pressure on Rotherham Hospital to re-think having the restaurant operating there.

Burger King has confirmed it will close its hospital outlet on 12 December. It will be replaced by Costa Coffee.

Matthew Lowry, deputy chief executive of Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said it would give people more food choice.

The fast-food chain has been at Rotherham Hospital for a number of years, but recently there has been mounting pressure for it to be replaced.

Trevor Simper, a nutrition expert who used to work at the hospital, said South Yorkshire had higher than average levels of obesity.


I am not suggesting that the chain represents all evil, in fact every month or so, I and a colleague go to Burger King and we really enjoy the food there

Nutrition expert Trevor Simper

"I think it's a positive thing that Burger King is moving out," he said.

"I am not suggesting that the chain represents all evil, in fact every month or so, I and a colleague go to Burger King and we really enjoy the food there.

"But the hospital should be setting a standard. There are patients at Rotherham who are being treated for all sorts of poor dietary-related conditions and the hospital should be offering food which is the role model of healthy eating."

Trust deputy chief executive Mr Lowry said: "Initially Burger King was less of an issue and indeed the whole sort of public health, obesity and healthy eating agenda was less relevant than it is now.

"As times have changed, clearly our perceptions of whether it is appropriate to have a Burger King in the hospital have changed and we have tried to do whatever we can in a fairly limited way to try and encourage Burger King out of the organisation and actually encourage a more appropriate tenant in."

In a statement, Burger King said it was working with staff from the restaurant to look at employment in other outlets.

It said: "In the course of normal business, we continuously review our worldwide restaurant portfolio and make strategic decisions based on many factors including development opportunities, market conditions, restaurant profitability, lease length and overall brand presence."

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