"Quality of Hospital Catering"

About: Victoria Infirmary

(as the patient),

I was a patient in the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow for a period of 11 days in January of this year and I was appalled at the quality of food served. Meals consisted of various strange combinations such as lasagne with mashed potato & brussel sprouts and macaroni cheese served with cauliflower. Meals which were served with gravy or sauces were cold, congealed, lumpy, tasteless and inedible. One of the meals I received was "baked egg with cheese". When I attempted to eat this I discovered to my dismay that the egg dish was raw in the middle. Serving uncooked egg to people who are already sick does not seem to me to be particularly wise. In addition, with the exception of the main meal, food is served in polystyrene tubs with plastic spoons. Patients are not even afforded the dignity of proper crockery or cutlery.

I was admitted to the hospital again in February for surgery. This time I was prepared. I had already cooked myself some dinners which I kept in my home freezer and which my family defrosted and brought to the hospital for me. I do believe, however, that it is outrageous that I felt that I had to resort to doing this. This was only an option for me as I live close to the hospital however for many patients this would not be feasible. In any case, it should not be necessary for anyone to provide their own food while in hospital.

During my January stay in hospital I lost 8lbs in weight in period of11 days. This can be attributed completely to the fact that I did not eat a proper meal for the entire duration of my stay. Surely recuperation periods in hospital should be used to build people up and ensure that they can enjoy a proper recovery, not to send their weight and wellbeing hurtling off in the opposite direction?

I was interested to read a comment left by a patient on this page approximately a year ago which was annotated as having resulted in changes being made. My experience would suggest that either there were no changes made or that these changes were insufficient.

I was told by one of the nursing staff that the food in the New Victoria Hospital across the road is far superior. Would it not be an option to serve this food in both establishments?

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Dear JMK

Thank you for providing your feedback. We have received the following comments from Mr Billy Hunter Hunter:

Can I please take this opportunity to confirm receipt of your comments in relation to the patient meal service that you experienced while you were receiving care within the Victoria Infirmary Hospital. I would like to confirm that it is our genuine belief as a Directorate that we should learn from the experiences of patients and make service improvements where possible & feasible to do so. Patient feedback is very important & I am grateful to you for taking the time to describe the meal service & where this failed to meet your expectations. I would also like to express my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that this situation had on you & your family.

NHSGGC Facilities Directorate are responsible for the provision of patient meal services across all hospital sites. As part of service provision we continually strive to provide a high quality meal service for our patients. Based on your comments it is with great concern & personal disappointment that you found the food service to be substandard.

I can confirm that a review of the patient meal service within Victoria Infirmary will be taken forward by the Catering Manager to establish where opportunity exists to introduce & implement service improvements. I note your comment in connection to food quality that is provided within the Ambulatory Hospital (which is referred to at the New Victoria Infirmary). I can confirm that the same patient food, provided from the same local NHSGGC source is supplied to both sites, however the method & model of food regeneration differs, therefore the pending review will also include this part of the process.

I would like to reassure you that NHSGGC is extremely committed to delivering a consistent meal service that satisfies the expectations & needs of all patients. In a positive effort to achieve service improvement & higher levels of patient satisfaction, it would be helpful to meet with you, to discuss in more detail your experience of the patient meal service.

Mr Hunter (General Manager for Facilities South) would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your patient experience. I would be grateful if you could call him on 0141 354 9615 or william.hunter@ggc.scot.nhs.uk in order to set up an appointment.

Kind Regards

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