A Highland hospital has withdrawn a reward scheme wherein children were offered vouchers in a fast food chain. Raigmore Hospital in Inverness used to distribute the McDonald's tokens occasionally to children who underwent complex procedures "bravely."
The vouchers were pulled off after the health board said the action was "totally inappropriate". NHS Highland said the scheme had been in place for many years, but no review had been conducted before this, "I appreciate that the thoughts behind the scheme were to reward children who are sometimes undergoing painful and lengthy procedures, but there are other ways we can do this," said NHS Highland chairman Garry Coutts. "As soon as it was raised with senior managers and directors it was stopped and I would like to thank those people who brought it to our attention." McDonald's has been sponsoring family accommodation in children's' ward in the hospital. The leading fast food chain said that the vouchers came attached with a bravery certificate and were always distributed under the watchful eye of the parents. However, even MPs have criticized the scheme, "I very rarely criticize the NHS, but in this instance I really do think something has gone very badly wrong. This practice of encouraging children to eat highly-processed food, likely to be high in salt, sugar and fat, should stop immediately," said Dr Eleanor Scott, Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands. "Giving out vouchers for McDonald's will simply make the so-called ticking time bomb of obesity even bigger and more explosive."