Volunteers have been banned from baking cakes and taking them into a hospital for cancer patients – because of health and safety fears.
Well-wishers were sent a letter saying new rules state all cakes must be baked in a “controlled environment.”
Bosses at Isabel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City, Herts., say patients have fragile immune systems so extra precautions have to be taken when baking.
But the 70-strong team of volunteers say they already submit a list of ingredients with every cake and branded the draconian ban “outrageous.”
Grandmother-of-eight Maggie Molyneux, 63, from Digswell, Herts., who has baked cakes for five years, yesterday said: “After all this time I’ve volunteered making cakes for the hospice they’ve been stopping it because they need to know where they’re made and how they’re made.
“But for 23 years they’ve been doing it and there have been no problems – it’s ridiculous.
“All these cakes are made by well-wishers who want to do their little bit for the community, but that stops now because they don’t know how the products and everything are sourced.
“We already have to list exactly what we use when they’re handed in.
“We’re local people – there’s a rota of about 70 of us who bake a cake about twice a year. It’s a considerable amount of support they’re snubbing by doing this.
“I have friends who have been in there, and since died, who thought the Hospice was excellent.
“It’s a really good cause, and people felt good about doing their little bit for the hospice and now that’s been taken away from us.”
Mrs Molyneux’s stockbroker husband, John, 66, said: “They are doing away with a 23 year tradition of cakes being made by the local community for the hospice.
“When I called them about the letter, they told me they had never had a complaint. I am horrified, I am incensed by this and I think this is wrong.”
Isabel Hospice provides residential and day care for patients with terminal illnesses including cancer.
Volunteers received the official notification about the baking ban in a letter last Tuesday.
Helen Dodd, the director of the hospice said the rules were introduced “with great reluctance” to ensure the wellbeing of patients.
She also encouraged the snubbed bakers to keep baking for fund-raising events.
Mrs Dodd said: “For many years we have been grateful to our volunteers who have baked cakes for the patients at our in-patient unit in WGC.
“It is with great reluctance we have taken the decision to discontinue this practice, and in future to provide cakes baked on our own premises by our caterers.
“The reasons behind this decision are complex, but essentially we need to control the environment in which food is produced and to know the provenance of all ingredients used, as well as working within certain guidelines.
“Whilst this may seem extreme, it must be remembered we are caring for people who may have a suppressed immune system or other complications caused by their illness or treatment and it is, therefore, essential we do everything in our power to ensure their wellbeing.
“We have written to all our cake baking volunteers to thank them for their support and to explain the reasons for this decision. We very much hope they will continue to support Isabel Hospice by baking for events such as our Open Gardens.”
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