"Hospital Food"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Mental Health Services for Older People – Inpatient

(as a volunteer/advocate),

I have been a volunteer on Cherry Ward Highbury Hospital (formerly B50 at the QMC Nottingham) for several months and my role is to capture patient feedback about the service provided by the ward and services provided to the ward.

Since B50 moved to Cherry Ward many of the patients have consistently complained about the food provided. Main complaints have been around the lack of variety, repetition in foods provided, that its dry and bland. The patients used to enjoy the food at the QMC and a favourite was the soup; at a meeting in June patients described the mushroom soup in particular as being 'like wallpaper paste! ' Patients would also like to have ice cream which was a daily feature at the QMC.

Ward staff invited me to stay and try the meal and check out for myself what I thought of the meal. I can only say I agree with the concerns the patients have raised and would like to see the hospital caters working with the patients to make changes.

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Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

picture of Jane Danforth

Thank you for your feedback Food is such an important part of being in hospital and I'm glad you were given the opportunty to see first hand what it is really like. I've spoken to the ward manager today and Helen will reply in more detail as it will mean a chat with the catering services to feed this back and to get a reply from them about what can be done to improve the food on the ward.

We will request ice cream as a daily option and an improvement in the quality of the soup. In addition to this your comments about repetition plus dry and bland food will all be raised and we will ask the catering department to include the ward in planning the changes

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Response from Helen Forrester, Ward Manager, Cherry Ward Highbury Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Many thanks for raising concerns about the food provided by the catering services at Highbury Hospital. I was pleased to hear that staff had invited you to try the food; it's good to have first hand experience of the concerns raised by the patients. Jane is exactly right, food is a crucial part of being in hospital and appetite and enjoyment of food are often the first casulties when we become ill. It is thus very important that we offer foods that are appetising and enjoyable.

We have invited the catering services to come and talk directly with the patients on Cherry Ward so that they can hear for themselves the concerns patients have.

The catering staff came to a patients meeting last wednesday (26th June) and a good discussion was had about the positives and negatives of the food provided. One of the main complaints was about the blandness of the food and we were informed that they are limited in the amount of seasoning they can add to foods, especially salt. Patients are provided with condiments and should make use of them to season foods as they prefer.

The catering team did say that they could not provide larger packs of salted butter which had been a request, but will provide small individual packs.

The caterers said that they would look at the concerns about the soup and were changing the provider for the sausages as the quality was not what was expected. Ice cream cannot be provided as apparently they have no freezers! With regard to the food being dry, they will look to provide more sauces on the menu. Puddings were a disappointment and the caters will look at the problems and try to resolve them.

At our request, buffet teas on a sunday, once a month, have been actioned and the patients will be given a questionnare to assess how well this has been received and whether to continue them.

The caterers have said they would come back and meet the patients again for further feedback, so Chris our catering liaison nurse, will invite them to another meeting soon. Meetings have been commenced by the dietican, Elizabeth, ward staff from different wards at Highbury and with the catering team to further look at our concerns re the menus and food quality. Information will be fed back to our patients at their meetings from this forum. We will keep you posted on further actions and outcomes on the patient opinion site.

I feel that a good dialogue has begun with the hospital catering services and that they are listening to our concerns, we look forward to improvements in the food they provide for us.

Many thanks again for taking the trouble to feedback your concerns, feedback enables the ward team to address concerns and improve the service we provide.

Helen Forrester

Ward Manager

Cherry Ward

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