Hospital menu given gourmet makeover
Date: 20 January 2020
Every year the NHS serves around 140 million meals to patients but hospital food has long had a poor reputation.
The Catering Team at Medway NHS Foundation Trust has been working hard in recent months to change this perception and improve the quality and choice of meals for patients, visitors and staff at Medway Maritime Hospital.
The team, based at the hospital in Gillingham, Kent, has introduced a number of different menus and items, including plant-based options such as ‘chicken’ tikka masala and crispy coated fishless fillets this ‘Veganuary’, which have been well received on wards, as well as in the hospital restaurant.
Medway NHS Foundation Trust Head of Retail, Simon Clark, said: “It is true that in the past some patient meals have not been appealing or adequate which has left patients disappointed. We were keen to improve the menus, increase availability and provide more specialist meals, and I’m pleased to say we have made great progress with these aims.”
“Our priority is to serve food that it is safe, nutritious and enjoyable. We like to think that patients and visitors are guests in our house and therefore we want to serve them a meal as though they were in our own home. We have done lots of work to ensure that the food is of a good quality, prepared, cooked and served at its best.”
Currently, patients receive a light breakfast of toast and cereal plus two hot meals a day, while there are a selection of sandwiches, snacks, desserts and gluten free items on offer. Elsewhere, a move towards ‘same day’ ordering ensures that patients get their meal of choice, while tasting sessions have allowed the Trust’s dieticians to trial and feedback on new menu options.
Last year the government announced a review of hospital food for the millions of meals served annually, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying better food would aid patients' recovery and "fuel" carers and family. The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith is among the celebrities set to advise the government in its ‘’root and branch’’ review.
Annually, Medway NHS Foundation Trust purchases for patients:
- 165,100 sandwiches
- 103,621 litres of milk
- 22,300 loaves of bread
- 91,000 jacket potatoes
From August to October 2019, the restaurant at Medway Maritime Hospital sold:
- 12,359 main course portions
- 15,931 hot drinks
The Catering Team at Medway NHS Foundation Trust has been working hard in recent months to improve the quality and choice of meals for patients, visitors and staff at Medway Maritime Hospital.