Almost 200 left without hot food in Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:05 26 October 2009

ALMOST 200 of the most vulnerable residents were left for two days without a hot meal, due to health and safety fears. Welwyn Hatfield Council suspended its vital Meals on Wheels service, which provides 180 elderly and disabled people with what can be th

ALMOST 200 of the most vulnerable residents were left for two days without a hot meal, due to health and safety fears.

Welwyn Hatfield Council suspended its vital Meals on Wheels service, which provides 180 elderly and disabled people with what can be their only hearty dish of the day.

Council chiefs claim residents were warned by letter in mid-December if adverse weather hit, the service would not run and all residents were called on Monday and Tuesday.

Head of care service Dana Cox said: "Due to the severe weather conditions, it would have been dangerous to pursue this service.

"We have a duty of care to our drivers, some of whom are volunteers."

But councillor Maureen Cook was concerned that preparations were not put in place and meals sent out in advance.

"We knew it was going to snow days ago," she said.

"We need to stop this happening again, we should be doing everything we can to look after people in need."

A council spokeswoman said this was impossible.

"Due to the health and safety of our Meals on Wheels recipients the provision of additional contingency meals in advance of the heavy snow was not an option.

"Our recipients cannot be expected to heat meals themselves.

"In many instances this is precisely why they receive the service, as they are unable to use an oven.

"Also, any additional meal could be accumulated and used at a later date, once past its expiry date, posing risk to the recipient."

* Were you or a relative affected? Call the newsdesk on 01707 384183 or email kelly-ann.kiernan@whtimes.co.uk


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