Staff who helped their hospital win a national award are said to be "insulted" after they were thanked with a free Kit Kat bar worth 60p.
About 4,000 staff at Torbay Hospital in Devon were told to "have a break" and cash in a voucher for the snack - which could only be redeemed in the hospital canteen.
The dedication and hard work of the hospital staff won the South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust the title of Acute Healthcare Organisation of the Year 2011 at the Health Service Journal awards.
But a Trust spokesman said the Kit Kat gift had been misinterpreted and was simply a "light-hearted gesture" as part of a package of thanks.
The awards event in London was attended by staff representing a wide range of services, including nurses, matrons and catering staff.
Paul Raybould, GMB branch secretary for Torbay, told the Western Morning News: "If I had given 20 years of service, I know exactly what I would want management to do with their Kit Kat.
"The staff are not just perturbed, but insulted."
The South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said the voucher was sent out with payslips and was just one of a number of thank you measures.
In a statement the Trust said: "We are disappointed that this small gift has been misinterpreted in this way.
"This was simply one light-hearted gesture as part of a whole programme of celebration and thanks to our staff for winning this award.
"This has included an all-staff prize-draw with thousands of pounds worth of prizes donated by local business and an event, on Wednesday of this week, where the chief executive once again thanked staff for their hard work and commitment to giving our patients the best possible care.
"We will not stop saying thank you to our staff. They are what makes this organisation successful and we are proud of what they have achieved for Torbay Hospital and for our patients."