"Given inappropriate food"

About: East Surrey Hospital

(as a relative),

My95 year old, slightly confused mother in law who is diabetic recently spent 24 hours in AMU.

During that time she was given a fruit yoghurt, a Fruit Shrewsbury biscuit (67% sugar) and a fruit jelly.

The staff were aware of her diabetes, yet did nothing to ensure that she was fed the appropriate food.

I think the main reason is that the hospital gives vegetarians more importance than diabetics, by providing and labelling vegetarian choices on its menu but completely disregarding diabetics.

There is of course provision on the back of the menu to ask for special diets but how many of us read the back of forms, particularly if you are 95 and suffering from dementia. I understand that a member of staff helped her complete her menu choice, but did nothing to either identify her diabetics or advise her of that option.

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Son in law 2

Thank you for sharing your story about your mother-in-law's recent stay in AMU and the food options available to her as a diabetic. The nutritional needs of all our patients are important to us and our catering management team work closely with dieticians to create and approve menus suitable for all patients' dietary needs.

Diabetics do not require a specific menu but should, as you quite rightly say, be assisted with suitable choices if they are unable to choose for themselves. The healthy option on the menu are denoted by a heart and provide appropriate choices for diabetics. Our nurses are aware of this and both the fruit yoghurt and jelly offered to your mother-in-law are authorised by the dieticians as suitable for diabetics as their sugar content is within the recommended limits. I have spoken with one of our senior dieticians who feels that the risk of low carbohydrate intake is often a high priority in the elderly and would take priority over optimal blood sugar control.

Our catering manager and dieticians would be very happy to discuss this if you need any further reassurance. Please email me at carol.dixon@sash.nhs.uk if you would like to discuss this further.

Best wishes,

Carol Dixon

Head of Patient Environment

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