STUNNED hospital staff who had their traditional Christmas dinner taken away were given out-of-date mince pies by bosses as a Yuletide treat.

Last week, it was revealed chiefs at Colchester Hospital had scrapped the tradition of giving staff working on Christmas Day a free dinner with turkey and all the trimmings as a good will gesture for spending the day away from their families.

This year, those working on the three bank holidays over the festive season were due to be given a mince pie and a festive fayre sandwich.

But employees were met with mince pies with the best before date of November 21 when they arrived for duty on the big day.

It is understood a number of different departments were given the expired pastries.

Some staff also claimed wards were not stocked with enough sandwiches to go round, however hospital executives have insisted there were a sufficient number in the building and extras could have been ordered from the helpdesk.

One hospital worker said he was disgusted.

“On some of the wards they opened the boxes first and gave them out on plates,” he said.

“But on some of the units where the kitchen people don’t come with the food trolleys, they just gave the boxes.

“But the worst part is obviously they know about them and still gave them away.

“Firstly I feel insulted and secondly, disgusted.

“It’s a disgrace. What if we had given expired food to a patient and a relative had seen?

“It would be madness and we could have lost our jobs.”

A spokesman for the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very sorry out of date mince pies were delivered to us.

“This was a problem with the supplier as the mince pies were only delivered to us a few days before Christmas so should have been in date.

“There were enough sandwiches ordered for every single member of staff on duty to have on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and we will look carefully at the reasons why some staff are reporting shortages.”