Isle patients could benefit from new meal services being introduced at Scunthorpe Hospital.
A review of catering services at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been undertaken to identify the best quality service for patients.
The move follows feedback from patients via daily menu cards around temperature, portion size and choice of food being served. These themes were also highlighted in the recent Keogh Review inspections.
To address concerns a food quality benchmarking exercise has been carried out with a range of food suppliers, and a live trial at Scunthorpe hospital with new trolleys and a plated meal delivery system.
From August 6 the Trust will serve meals provided by external supplier Apetito. It has been awarded an initial contract for eight months, then a full tender exercise will be undertaken in March 2014.
Jug Johal, hotel services general manager, said: “As part of the process we carried out a blind taste test with a panel of people including patient representatives and staff and they all agreed the Apetito meals were superb.”
The change of food supplier will be followed late in the autumn by the delivery of a new heated plated trolley system that will ensure that food is delivered to patients more quickly and at the right temperature.
Mr Johal said: “We receive patient feedback on a daily basis and that has shown concerns being raised about the temperature, portion size and choice of food being served. The Keogh review team also heard feedback from some patients which echoed this.”
Dr Karen Dunderdale, chief nurse, said: “The quality of our food is very important as we recognise that nutrition plays a vital role in the recovery of our patients. Our aim is to ensure that mealtimes provide patients with a slice of normality where they can sit and enjoy a delicious, nutritional meal that meets all of their dietary requirements.”
The hospital already has a protected mealtime in place between noon and 1pm and 5pm and 6pm where visitors to the wards – including doctors, therapists and other healthcare staff – are restricted from seeing patients.
Karen said: “Patients don’t want to have tests or investigations while they are eating their meal. That is why protected mealtimes are in place across our hospitals. It allows people to sit and have their food without interruptions.”
Many of the recipes used by Apetito have been developed from patient feedback and aim to meet a range of dietary requirements including: diabetic, low fat, low salt, gluten free, vegetarian, energy dense, low potassium, milk free, soft and pureed, egg free, Kosher and Asian Halal.