AS the row over the decision to axe Burger King from a Southampton hospital rumbles on, the Daily Echo went to test how healthy the alternatives are.

Bosses at Southampton General Hospital have come under fire for not renewing the fast food chain’s lease when it expires in 2016.

The decision has sparked fierce opposition from angry locals who have launched a petition to save it, claiming it provides better food than the hospital’s own restaurant.

Despite being asked what will be brought in to replace the famous brand, hospital chiefs have so far remained tight-lipped and will not confirm if another food outlet will be introduced.

So the Daily Echo decided to visit the Spice of Life eaterie on B wing to find out what alternatives are currently on offer to staff, patients and their relatives, looking for a tasty bite to eat.

On close inspection, we discovered a range of healthy meals on offer, including chicken pasta, vegetarian stroganoff and a wrap and burrito counter.

There is also a dedicated salad bar with nutritional information around each ingredient, plus a fresh fruit and yoghurt counter throughout the day.

Bosses also provide comment slips for customers to feed back information, with a display board indicating what changes have been made as a result.

But while Burger King provides a calorie breakdown for all of the items on its menu, it was difficult to find the same level of detail in Spice of Life.

For example, there did not appear to be anything informing customers of how many calories were in the main meals on the menu and staff were unable to tell us when asked.

And although there were plenty of healthy options, pizza was also on offer alongside plenty of sugary drinks, crisps, confectionery and a traditional ‘fry-up’ breakfast.

As reported by the Daily Echo, the decision not to renew the lease for Burger King when it expires in 2016 was made because the fast food outlet no longer fits with the hospital’s “healthcare environment”.

Southampton Healthwatch, which represents patients’ views in the city, has backed the plans to axe Burger King, while Hampshire GP and television presenter Dr Hilary Jones also supported the move as a way to reduce obesity.

The full details of the plans have yet to be released, leaving it unclear whether another food outlet or shop will replace Burger King, if the unit will disappear altogether or if it will be used for another purpose.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, which runs Southampton General, said it is in discussion with a number of retailers and food businesses about the new layout but no plans have been finalised yet.

It is yet to submit its final plans to the city council for planning permission and a spokesman said the hospital could not yet confirm when that would take place.

When asked about the petition, the trust declined to comment.

A spokesman for Burger King has said the company does not want to comment.