"Faultless care. Hospital let down by poor food"

About: The Great Western Hospital

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Following a posterior repair for rectocoele I stayed 1 night in Beech Ward in a side ward. All medical& nursing staff gave faultless professional care with kindness & cheerfulness.Thank you all.

I was surprised to find poor catering brought in from an outside company. Posters re meals in ward were out of date. Staff seemed embarrassed by poor catering. Menus to pre-order no longer used,allegedly to save waste if someone who had ordered was discharged. However nurses now wasted their time trying to match food provided to patients' wishes, often running out of popular dishes & wasting less popular ones.

My personal experience:- 10p.m, post-op, after 14 hours with no food/drink, offered cup of tea & sandwich left over from supper...not feeling like eating spring onion,stuffing,mustard...left only one cheese& tomato option...packaged by imaginative Ad -man with references to locally sourced,fresh etc plus pictures with chickens...containing white bread, paper thin slice cheese dotted with a few pallid tomato rings. Nurse also found tiny fruit salad from back of fridge.

Breakfast. ...as my op. was a bowel repair I wanted to be careful to eat diet that would help recovery& avoid pain. Offered tea & choice of boring cereals,brown/white toast...No fruit or fruit juice, yoghurt, muesli.

By 10.30 a.m I would have loved hot drink & even a biscuit. Nurse explained mid-morning drinks had

to be fitted in with their other work, hence often didn't happen,plus there "used to be a box of biscuits"...she kindly made me a cup of tea.

Lunch...2nurses hurried about marking bits of paper to match patients to food provided.I asked for soup ,fishcakes,mash& veg...no yoghurt left(only2 sent up) no other appropriate dessert...my fishcakes came ,no soup but didn't bother to ask for it after main course. Was given hot drink after lunch,mid afternoon, & after supper.

Supper...choice of 2soups, sandwiches. By this time my husband brought in a banana,a granary sandwich with a fresh tomato, so I was spared the ghastly out-sourced sandwiches.

If served any of the food provided in hospital at a cafe I would not go back! Feel so sorry for patients in for a long time. Maybe this is a plan to make people go home quickly, or to save costs by getting visitors to bring in palatable food!

Surely this wonderful huge hospital could take pride in its own catering, giving patients appropriate food to hasten their recovery& improve their mood, to offer staff decent subsidised meals, & to provide for visitors. Nutrition being such an important part of medical care it is concerning that standards here fall so far below those of the committed medical staff.

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Response from The Great Western Hospital

We're sorry that the standard of food and service offered during your stay at the hospital didn’t live up to expectations. Our food is provided by our catering partner Carillion, who try hard to make sure there is a wide choice of meals that help support recovery, but clearly this didn’t match your experiences.

The standard of the food provided at the hospital is a key priority for us. We're currently carrying out an exercise designed to look into quality and choice, and are asking some patients to keep a food diary so that we can measure opinion. I’ll make sure I feed your comments back to Carillion so they’re aware of your views.

I was concerned that there may also be some issues with the level of service you received from the nursing staff. I've discussed your comments with Wendy Ainsworth, the Ward Matron, who'd been keen to discuss your experiences in more depth.

If you’d like to talk to Wendy, then please call our Customer Services Team on 01793 604031, or email pals.team@gwh.nhs.uk and we'll put you in touch.

Rob Mauler

Great Western Hospital

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