The UK has seen recent media coverage following claims by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food in the UK that some hospitals are ‘hiding’ dissatisfaction with food, leading to renewed public interest in the quality of hospital meals. Food quality isn’t however something patients being treated at Noble’s Hospital need to worry about says Derek Peters, the hospital’s Catering Manager.
“Noble’s Hospital has a reputation for delicious food, with a high satisfaction rate amongst patients – the most recent at 92.3%.” said Derek. “We’re extremely proud of the quality of food we produce. The most important thing about food in a hospital setting is ensuring that it’s nutritious. People who are unwell need all the help they can get to build up their strength, and good nutrition along with good hydration are the real lynchpins in achieving this. We also pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of tasty meals to meet patients’ varying tastes and preferences. I also think it’s significant that we’re totally committed to using as much local produce as possible. All of our fresh pork, lamb and beef is sourced locally, along with potatoes and other vegetables, and dairy too. Unlike some UK hospitals, all of our food is cooked on site, which means it’s as fresh as it can possibly be when it reaches patients.
“That’s not to say that catering on a mass scale doesn’t pose challenges; we produce a large volume of food every day, not just for patients, but for staff as well, and we also produce all the food for the Mental Health Service and for the Island’s Meals on Wheels service. In August we produced 37,432 meals. So it’s no small undertaking, and naturally we have a budget to stick to. But the catering staff take great pride in the work they do, and understand how their efforts contribute to the care of patients and vulnerable people. We always have at the forefront of our minds the fact that we, as much as clinicians, have a role to play in the recovery process for patients.”
Derek concluded: “Some of the feedback we’ve had from patients over the years has been extremely encouraging. Patients come in with such a negative view of hospital food, sometimes because of the media and sometimes because of what they’ve experienced in other hospitals. But on the whole, patients are pleasantly surprised with what’s on offer. If we can keep them happy and nourished, we know we’re doing a good job.”
Derek’s view is echoed by Bev Critchlow, the Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Therapies who says that patient nutrition is taken extremely seriously at Noble’s Hospital: “We have a policy of protected meal times at Noble’s Hospital to ensure that there is a fixed time dedicated solely to feeding patients. This means that in routine circumstances, patients won’t be disturbed and can enjoy their meal in peace, and the time this frees up for healthcare staff can be dedicated to assisting those patients who are unable to eat independently. Nutritional care is a basic part of treatment and therapy and is integral to patient care. Making sure patients have high quality sustenance to aid their recovery plays a very important role in recuperation, which is why the quality of the food we provide is taken so seriously here.”