"My experience of food in hospital as a coeliac"

About: Manchester Royal Infirmary Tameside General Hospital

(as the patient),

Personally I object to being requested to bring my own bread and biscuits in because of being diagnosed as a coeliac.

Surely emergency bread and biscuits should be available somewhere in hospital, with easy access. Even when the hospital is expecting the patient no food is available suitable for gluten free. Other patients can at least usually have toast and do not have to wait for next meal - which isn't always available for coeliacs. They have to manage with or without anything - just a drink.

This has happened in 2 hospitals - Manchester Royal Infirmary and Tameside General Hospital.

Have been told it won't happen again, but it does as staff change and don't understand what to do as routine. Even at meal time some staff give a spare meal with gluten which if your able has to be refused, it mean the patient has to be aware of mistake - not staff.

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Response from Philip Dylak, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust

I am sorry this happened, and it certainly should not have done. Tameside Hospital’s catering service prides itself on its ability to meet the dietary requirements of all its patients. I will ask the Trust’s Catering Manager to ensure the position with regard to the availability of gluten free food is clarified with ward staff. I trust this meets with your approval.

Many thanks

Philip Dylak

Best wishes

Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved?

Please contact Philip Dylak, Director of Nursing at philip.dylak@tgh.nhs.uk

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Response from Eve Koutidou, Patient Experience & Quality Project Officer , Patient Experience & Quality, Patient Partnership Department, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback. I was very sorry to learn of your experience of trying to obtain suitable foods to meet your Gluten Free dietary requirements whilst you were a patient with us. It is unacceptable that you found yourself in this situation.

The MRI caters for a wide variety of dietary needs and has a range of meals and snacks that are suitable for patients who need these to be Gluten Free. The Catering department is able to supply cereals, bread, snack boxes as well as a selection of meals that are marked on all menus as GF. If these meals are not suitable for the patient then there is a set GF menu available and if there are other dietary requirements as well then we have a diet bay where food can be freshly cooked to provide suitable food as prescribed by a dietitian. I was very disappointed that you were not provided with suitable food from any of these options.

I am grateful for your comments and as a result all wards have been provided with information about what can be provided from our Catering Service and if there is need for clarity that they contact the department with any queries.

If you would like to discuss this with us further, or if you need to come into hospital again at any time please feel free to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0161 276 8686 or by e-mailing pals@cmft.nhs.uk who will help with any further queries or ensure that we respond to your dietary needs in a future admission.

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