A review of catering services has been undertaken at the hospital which serves patients in the Isle of Axholme following concerns about the standard of food.
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Scunthorpe General Hospital, carried out the review in order to identify the best quality service for patients.
This followed feedback from patients via the daily menu cards which saw concerns raised about the temperature, portion size and choice of food being served.
In order to address the concerns, a food quality benchmarking exercise was carried out with a range of food suppliers, together with a live trial at Scunthorpe General Hospital of new trolleys and a plated meal delivery system.
From August 6 2013, the Trust will be serving meals provided by an 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.
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.
Dr Dunderdale added: “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.