At an LiA conversation focussed on nutrition in June 2013, staff suggested a number of ideas to improve the catering provided for patients. Food choice and menu variety are important considerations in any food service operation, no more so than in hospital where a patient’s appetite is likely to be jaded for a variety of reasons. Suggestions put forward by staff included providing more variety and choice, particularly for patients with specific dietary requirement, the need for more “mini meals” and introducing a restaurant-style a la carte menu.
The introduction of the new meals service at Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH has addressed many of the suggestions made by staff. Patients now have a menu at their bedside and can choose from 17 main courses and 13 desserts, plus a wide range of light bites, salads and sandwiches for every lunch and supper. The meals are supplied by Steamplicity, who supply meals to around 40 NHS Trusts, and use a unique, patented cooking system that steams food to perfection on the ward in just four minutes, using minimal equipment.
Early feedback on the new system has been extraordinarily high, with in excess of 98% of patients asked indicating that they are happy with the quality of food provided and all extremely satisfied with the level of choice available. Comments received include: “In comparison to previous hospital catering, this is excellent”, “Food is good and filling, nice variety” and “Better than some hotels”.