It might be a storm in a teacup, but a woman thinks the Whanganui District Health Board's gift policy takes the biscuit.

Catherine, who did not want to give her full name, wanted to give Whanganui Hospital staff a gift of homemade cakes and biscuits to thank them for good service she had received.

"They told me the baking would have to go to the chief executive," Catherine said.

"It seems very mean-spirited. It's not him that looks after you when you're in hospital."

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She said she was sure the chief executive could afford to buy his own cakes and biscuits from Whanganui's top bakery.

However, a Whanganui DHB spokesman said gifts of home baking would not go to the chief executive.

The organisation had a defined policy regarding gifts, donations, sponsorships and corporate hospitality and a staff member's general manager, rather than the chief executive, must give prior approval for acceptance of them, he said.

"However, exceptions are allowed for items of 'minimal value', examples of which include a box of chocolates, flowers, minor industry giveaways such as pens and diaries.

"I would suggest 'home baking' would fall under this exception, so it may well have been acceptable for the staff member to receive the home baking."

He thought the issue might have been one of approval rather than the gift itself.

"While I do not know exactly what was offered by the member of the public, Whanganui DHB would like to express its sincere thanks for the kind and generous offer, and is sure no disrespect was intended by the refusal."