"My praise for the Red Tray Scheme"

About: Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Neurology Solihull Hospital / Neurology

(as a carer),

My wife has MS and 15 years ago, she was taken into Queen Elizabeth Hospital and came out 10 days later. She had pressure sores on her feet and elsewhere and had lost a considerable amount of weight.

Towards the end of her stay I noticed that she hadn't eaten one of her meals and asked her why. When I asked if anyone had offered it to her, or offered to help her, she said no they hadn't and suddenly I realised that this had probably happened most days during her stay. I hadn't noticed when visiting her that she was losing weight so rapidly as she was always beneath the covers but when I got her home it was very obvious. I should have complained at the time, but I didn't.

I was so delighted when my wife went into Solihull Hospital two years ago and I learnt about the Red Tray Scheme. What a wonderfully simple, cheap and sensible answer to such an important problem. It prevents people who are particularly vulnerable and in need of help from being overlooked. I think it is brilliant, and reassures me no end that when my wife is in hospital she will not go without her meals and subsequently lose weight.

I imagine this scheme has benefits all round - to patients, to staff, to families and to the budget! I also agree with carers and families being shown flexibility in regard to waiting hours so that they can help to feed the patients. I appreciate that this isn't appropriate or possible for many people, especially those who work, but where it is an option, I believe it should be encouraged. When my wife went into Stafford Hospital I was given a bed for a week to stay with my wife - I thought this was extremely good. She had my undivided attention, I could take some of the pressure off the staff in attending to my wife's needs.

Feeding patients well is in everyone's interest - no one would deny the importance of being well fed in feeling better, it is crucial to recovery.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Patient Engagement Office and Project Manager, Heart Of England NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to email us your feedback regarding the red tray system we use in our hospitals (Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope).

We have had lots of feedback regarding the trays and other feeding systems we use to encourage our more vulnerable patients to eat and drink.