Staff who helped their hospital win a national award are said to be "insulted" after they were thanked with only a free Kit Kat bar worth 60p.
Torbay Hospital in Devon's 4000 staff were told to "have a break" and cash in a voucher for the snack - which could only be redeemed in the hospital canteen.
The hard work of the hospital staff had just earned them the South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust title of Acute Healthcare Organisation of the Year 2011 at the Health Service Journal awards.
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."
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 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.
"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."