A proposal to truck frozen hospital meals from Auckland and reheat them in Northland has been rejected by the health board.
Northland District Health Board was the second in the country to reject the controversial cost-cutting proposal by NZ Health Partnership.
Northland DHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain said the potential downsides outweighed the cost benefits.
The business case indicated a best case scenario of about $2 million in savings over 15 years.
"We carefully considered the proposal and were concerned about the operational risk given our unique geographic and remote aspects of our region, as well as the local impact to our staff and suppliers," Dr Chamberlain said.
The proposal would have seen the food service of Northland's four hospitals mainly based in Auckland.
In some cases, frozen meals would have been trucked up State Highway 1 and reheated, while in other cases meal ingredients would have been sourced from Auckland but prepared at the hospitals.
"There certainly would have been jobs lost to Auckland but we don't know exactly how many, as we decided at the early stage of due diligence that the food business case was not going to work for us," Dr Chamberlain said.
Five other DHBs have approved similar proposals under a 15-year contract, with Hawke's Bay the first to decline.
Hawke's Bay's DHB, which is in a region similar in size to Northland, would have had to cut eight full-time jobs, or 20 per cent of the food service jobs.
"One of the biggest concerns was the operational risk of having food trucked daily," Dr Chamberlain said.
There was concerns about what would happen if roads closed not just to Whangarei Hospital, but also the district hospitals in Dargaville, Kawakawa and Kaitaia.
"Potentially, this might mean that we would have to carry a larger amount of stock of chilled and frozen food with the potential additional risk of spoilage," Dr Chamberlain said.
Last year, the DHB also rejected a proposal by the company to have the laundry services moved to a central hub in Auckland, that would have saved up to $2 million over 10 years.