> The Importance of Good Quality Hospital Food to Aid Recovery - The Food Safety Company The Importance of Good Quality Hospital Food to Aid Recovery - The Food Safety Company
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    Thursday, 2 March 2017

    The Importance of Good Quality Hospital Food to Aid Recovery

    Img: BBC Scotland 
    A patient from Portobello, Edinburgh, believes she wasn’t properly fed in her recovery from surgery at Western General Hospital, as BBC News reports this morning. Giselle Dye spent one month in the hospital in April 2015 recovering from benign brain tumour surgery, and believes her recovery time could’ve been significantly shortened if the food supplied to her from the hospital was more sufficient.

    Having had to eat a pureed diet for the first three days of recovery, she experienced fainting and weakness, and believes her hunger was the cause of this. She reports to BBC News:

    “They'd obviously taken a plate of food and pureed it, so I was given a plate of pink goo. After three or four days I realised I was fainting because I was hungry,

    “The care I got was fantastic but the food was frankly disappointing. There often wasn't enough of it and when it came it was quite unappetising.”

    Ms Dye says that she found it difficult to get any fruit, and was surprised at the poor quality and lack of food due to Scotland being known for good food and drink. She resulted in asking her husband to bring her food when visiting, such as boiled eggs, toast and even fish and chips.

    “Within three days I was stronger and better and getting up and moving” she continued, “I was weak because I was not getting enough and the right kind of food to eat.”

    Ms Dye shares her experience after a previous BBC article reported that a number of hospitals in Scotland are spending so little on meals. An average of £3.50 per person, per day, on meals and snacks is being spent on patients in the country’s hospitals, averaging out at around 94p per meal.

    Results from the recent Scottish Care Experience Survey reveal: “Food is an area where a substantial percentage of people reported a negative experience; however they were more positive about the drinks they had received.”

    The option of 'I was happy with the food/meals I received' received positive responses in the range of 56%-91%, while 18% were unhappy with food.

    A spokeswoman notes that ‘cost is not a reflection of quality’ due to St John’s hospital being known for high quality food, despite its cheap costs. While quality may not be an issue, as shown by Ms Dye’s case, quantity and type of food may be.

    Conservative MSP Brian Whittle brought up the topic of hospital food in parliament last year, showing interest in the quality of the foods provided, and where the food is sourced.

    “Eating healthy, high-quality meals when you're in hospital can make a big difference to your recovery…If patients aren't eating well, they can't get well,” he says.

    Head chef of Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast, Jim Farren, agrees. The Belfast Telegraph reported last week of Mr Farren’s efforts to ensure nutritious, good quality food is being served to patients.

    Img: Belfast Telegraph
    Catering for up to 16 patients at a time, Farren is “always willing to tailor dishes to suit the individual dietary requirements and even the tastes of each patient” as reported by the Belfast Telegraph

    Working closely with suppliers, he always ensures the quality is of restaurant standard and the price is as low as possible.

    He states: “Recovery is obviously so important to the people I am cooking for so I try and make sure my menus will help them do that as quickly as possible.”

    With fantastic feedback and a modern menu, it’d be great for this food standard to be expanded to NHS hospitals and not just private ones, to ensure all get the necessary nutrition for recovery, and patients like Ms Dye avoid unsatisfactory meals. 

    Laura Sewell

    An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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