New Government guidelines have been introduced to make sure that food served in our hospitals is up to scratch.
The Department of Health says food quality in hospitals will now have to meet ‘tough mandatory standards in a drive to drastically improve what NHS patients are fed.
Patients will also be given the chance to rate the hospital on a NHS website.
This week the Chad has asked patients at King’s Mill hospital what they think about their culinary experiences (see link below).
We asked Ben Widdowson, head of estates and facilities at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, about the standard of food and its delivery at King’s Mill Hospital.
* Does KMH meets these (Government) standards and if not, what will be done to meet them?
“Sherwood Forest Hospitals, working with its PFI partners, is actively working towards compliance’ with the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services, and a SILVER accreditation’ for the Soil Association for Life Catering Mark 2.”
* Who provides the food for the patients and where is it prepared?
“The food is provided by Medirest, which is the trust’s catering service provider. There are a number of Medirest centres around the country, including locally, from within which the meals are prepared locally.”
* Has KMH cut or raised its food budget and if so, by how much?
“Investing in the patient catering service has enabled us to move away from a bulk catering system that offered patients limited hot food choices, to an improved range of individually cooked Steamplicity meals. Our catering staff and hostesses personally deliver meals to patients to provide a personal service.
“We strongly believe that good food contributes to the recovery and overall wellbeing of our patients. Therefore the budget has effectively increased, as has the quality and range of dishes on offer.”
* How much does KMH spend per meal of its patients?
“We aim to provide value for money and the average cost of the meals we provide to a patient on a daily basis, including drinks, is £8.27.
* Are patients’ groups consulted on the food and have there been any ratings from them?
“As part of our annual patient-led assessments of the care environment (PLACE) audit, food is sampled by the assessors, half of whom are patient representatives.
“We observed the food service on six separate wards to ensure consistency. Medirest also undertake patient satisfaction surveys on a quarterly basis. The last survey gave a 96 rating for the quality of food on offer.”