"The hospital food is not adequate"

About: Royal Stoke University Hospital

(as a relative),

My daughter and my husband have been admitted into the UHNS in the past month on different wards for different reasons. However the common thread that links the two cases is the awful in-edible hot food should you be able to obtain it!

A sandwich is an alternative but these sometimes become difficult to obtain. I am sure someone somewhere within your organisation must appreciate how important "GOOD WHOLESOME" food is to aid recovery. Sandwiches twice a day and an occasional bag of crisps without veg, fruit or salad really is not adequate or a healthy way of eating for a healthy person never mind someone who is ill.

In both cases I resorted to bringing food onto the ward for both members of my family.

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Response from University Hospitals of North Midlands

Dear 'beamer',

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. We are disappointed that you felt that you were let down by our patient catering service in choice, availability and taste. The Trust puts a great deal of effort and planning into ensuring that along with excellent clinical care and hospital cleanliness - good food and a helpful service are all important to ensuring that all our patients have a comfortable stay.

The Trust recognises that food is an important part of a patient’s wellbeing and the menus are designed to be appetising and nutritious. To ensure we offer a good choice the Trust has a 21 day menu cycle and a team of dieticians have worked closely with the catering and nursing teams to devise a range of eight menus to suit various diets. Sometimes there may be a slight variation to what is provided on our day case wards because of the unpredictability of patient numbers in this area, but every effort is made to accommodate individual requirements and to provide a varied service.

Outside of regular meal times, hot meals, soup and snack boxes are available. The snack boxes consist of a sandwich, snack (crisps/fruit), yoghurt and a cold drink. Patients would be offered these out of hours/ad hoc items via the nursing team who would then pass on that request through the helpdesk. UHNS staff are advised to encourage patients who do have concerns, to request to speak to a member of the catering team, who will be happy to discuss any issues and talk through a patients specific nutritional needs. This allows the team to directly address any concerns or issues that are raised immediately, this to ensure that the patients stay is made as comfortable as possible.

The Trust have regular patient meal tasting sessions during which patient representatives are invited to attend to sample food from the patients menu. In addition, the patient food is also assessed as part of the annual NHS Patient Led Assessments of the Care and Environment Inspection, where our score for food in the 2013 inspection was amongst the top 25 of NHS Trusts in the UK.

I would like to reassure you that the Trust continually strives to make continued improvements to the services we offer to our Patients and will take your feedback into account with the service teams concerned. More information is available on our website www.uhns.nhs.uk

The Trust welcomes your feedback, and would like to thank you once again for taking the time to bring these matters to our attention.

Mark Fisher

Head of Facilities Management

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