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to be appalled by the quality of food offered by Sodexo in hospital canteens?

(23 Posts)
wigwam33 Fri 04-Apr-14 19:27:52

I was in a hospital this week, had a long wait and decided to go to one of the cafes on site.

At 11.15am there was not a single vegetable or salad item in sight, nor was there anything suitable for coeliacs. Ever hopeful, I returned 30 mins later and there were some very sorry for themselves looking 'salad pots' of limp iceberg lettuce and a few pieces of chopped tomato. Not hugely appealing but I thought, "better than nothing, hopefully it will fend off the morning sickness" and then was told curtly, "sorry you can't have that on it's own... it goes with the meal deal." I ended up buying a packet of crisps instead!

In a week when we've been told we should - apparently - be eating '7 a day', isn't it a bit ironic that I couldn't even get one of my 5 (or 7) a day in a hospital eatery?

EverythingsDozy Fri 04-Apr-14 19:37:33

Speaking from experience, salad is not good for morning sickness. Try weetabix!!
But no, YADNBU, hospital food isn't great, be that in the cafe or for the patients. I do admire how they get food around the wards though, they manage to cook and serve an entire hospital three times a day, so you can slightly excuse the food in the wards. There is no excuse for the cafe!!

ohtowinthelottery Fri 04-Apr-14 19:54:51

I thought the same when I used the hospital restaurant before Christmas. I was 'living' at the hospital whilst DD was an in-patient. I bought a meal one lunchtime of sausages and onion gravy in a Yorkshire pudding. There were some carrots in the serving unit but none got served up on my plate. Turns out vegetables weren't included in the meal price - they were extra.
I remember using the same restaurant many years ago when DD was small. They had a lovely salad bar. That is no longer there. All you can get now is a pre packed plastic box of salad with a bit of chicken/tuna. I bought one of these - a Caesar salad - one day. I looked at the calorie content which was a little over 260 calories. Bearing in mind that included the caesar dressing, it was hardly a main meal. No wonder everyone was eating sausages and Yorkshire pudding!

wigwam33 Fri 04-Apr-14 19:55:38

Ah well...maybe I was saved then. I used to love weetabix but now I can't have wheat so that's a no go.... Crisps seemed to do the trick wink

FutTheShuckUp Fri 04-Apr-14 20:00:01

They used to run the canteen at the hospital I worked which was a well known children's hospital. I was shocked to be honest the shit that was on offer for such a high price. They also used to close whenever they felt like it

EverythingsDozy Fri 04-Apr-14 20:01:19

Oh yes of course, you mentioned coeliacs! How stupid of me! Definitely cereal though, crisps yes. The day I had salad hoping it was going to help I threw it all up (tmi) in Morrisons car park then went and had a full English which helped no end!! grin

ALittleFaith Fri 04-Apr-14 20:05:46

I found the best thing for morning sickness was ice lollies!

YANBU that's pretty poor. I eat a GF diet and I'd be annoyed if I couldn't eat anything! It's worth writing a letter of complaint or speaking to PALS. I work in a hospital and have been a patient a couple of times recently for 9 days first admission and 5 days the second. In recent years the menu has had a massive overhaul and I was really impressed with the food. Good selection of tasty food! They really make the effort. General quality for patients has improved too.

MammaTJ Fri 04-Apr-14 20:27:41

My DS was put on a wheat and dairy free diet by the paeds. When he was admitted to the same hospital for a few days and put on IV antibiotics, he was given ham and chip for lunch and tea every single day.

I would hear the nurse on the phone to the kitchens requesting meat, veg and potatoes. But they only ever sent that up. I was even worried to give him the chips as they are often covered in whey powder.

The nurses encouraged me to complain and I had the head of catering come to see me and apologise.

I really believe that when people are in hospital they need good nutrition to hep them get better.

EverythingsDozy fancy telling someone who is coeliac to eat weetabix! grin

RevoltingPeasant Fri 04-Apr-14 20:30:58

When I am in hospital I get DH to bring food or I don't eat. Luckily the longest I have been in is just over 2 days. So far - eep!

craftysewer Fri 04-Apr-14 20:33:59

My daughter is celiac and at a recent visit to the hospital canteen there were no main meals available that she could have eaten. It didn't help that she was vegetarian, but even so.

TeamEdward Fri 04-Apr-14 20:38:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Christelle2207 Fri 04-Apr-14 21:46:32

There was a documentary on recently explaining that in some hospitals, I think including UCLH, they have employed a chef and upgraded the food in the canteen (and done a swanky refurb) sufficiently that it's open to all and all profits go back into the hospital. People actualy queue up to get seats and it's now a proper little money spinner. Same kitchen does patient food and it's all very wholesome. Essentially the money the public canteen makes, upgrades the food for the patients.
Why haven't other hospitals cottoned on?

Christelle2207 Fri 04-Apr-14 21:46:46

There was a documentary on recently explaining that in some hospitals, I think including UCLH, they have employed a chef and upgraded the food in the canteen (and done a swanky refurb) sufficiently that it's open to all and all profits go back into the hospital. People actualy queue up to get seats and it's now a proper little money spinner. Same kitchen does patient food and it's all very wholesome. Essentially the money the public canteen makes, upgrades the food for the patients.
Why haven't other hospitals cottoned on?

TeamEdward Fri 04-Apr-14 21:47:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wigwam33 Fri 04-Apr-14 21:48:18

It seems I'm not the only one to be shocked and less-than-impressed. Surely something should be done about this?

ALittleFaith it's good to hear that the patient's food has improved (for some people that is - not for your son MammaTJ). Who should I write to? What is PALS? blush for ignorance on that one.

I just don't understand how Sodexo got this contract - perhaps the person running Sodexo was another of George Osbourne's best mates?! (Royal Mail ref) hmm. Sorry my cynical side is coming out now.

Oh I also forgot to mention that in another hospital cafe I visited recently (I have spent a fair bit of time in hospitals over the past month), they didn't even open until 9.30am, not even for coffees. Not much help for the staff (or patients) wanting a morning coffee before then!

itsmeitscathy Fri 04-Apr-14 22:09:21

I completely agree - nutrition is so important to both the patient and the carer but it seems like the missing link in hospital care. Even in oncology hospitals where patients are constantly being visited by nutritionists the food is inedible...

ALittleFaith Fri 04-Apr-14 22:26:58

PALS it's a patient liaison service so they can point you to who you need to speak to

Our patients' meals were pre-cooked, plated up, sent up on a trolley and the plates were heated. The meals looked vile and the meat and fish were often welded to the plate. Also portion sizes were literally: small - one scoop of mash, medi - two scoops, large - three scoops! Now they come up on 'regen' trolleys, large portions that we can dish out. So for example we can say Mrs Smith has a really small appetite, not a big portion. Tastes better too! They've also revamped all the textured diets for patients with swallowing problems. Now instead of slop it looks like food. They even using a piping bag so that the mushy food looks like what it's meant to for example, carrots.

ALittleFaith Fri 04-Apr-14 22:29:19

Like this!

WelshMaenad Sat 05-Apr-14 17:20:19

Both my parents have been in (different) hospitals over the past few weeks. The food on offer to inpatients was bloody shocking. Mum had dietician a round giving her very sound advice on calorie intake due to rapid weight loss (she has pancreatic cancer) but was just offered the same old shite from the food trolley with no heed being paid by catering to what the nutritionists wanted her to eat! She was feeling very sick and had no appetite anyway, and the trolley food was so disgusting she couldn't tolerate it.

My sister and I ended up taking her in home cooked food, but had to do so in flasks etc as they wouldn't even reheat soup for her. This was supplemented with those horrible Ensure drinks, to make sure she was having proper nutrition, because the service supposed to be providing that nutrition was such a bloody failure.

I can't even get het up over failure to feed visitors and outpatients when they can't effectively feed patients who are trapped there. Though I'm very sorry you're feeling grim and hope your sickness eases soon.

puntasticusername Sat 05-Apr-14 17:28:48

I'd love to know how much money the NHS spunks up the wall on icky nutritional supplements, when they could spend a fraction of that sum on providing actual decent food and end up with happier and probably better nourished patients.

sadsaddersaddest Sat 05-Apr-14 17:34:27

They also work with French hospitals.
For DC3, I wasn't allowed to have any food after giving birth at 8 in the morning because breakfast time was over.
Then they brought this for lunch. It was called "flan de carottes".

Normalisavariantofcrazy Sat 05-Apr-14 17:36:21

Sodexo run meals on wheels round here and the food they serve isn't fit to feed an animal

My neighbour offered me some of theirs for a taste, yeah. I've smelt nicer dog food

madhairday Sat 05-Apr-14 18:03:17

ugh sad !

Sodexo supplied inpatient meals at a couple of hospitals I have been an inpatient in, and the food really is shocking. Last time I was in I had double pneumonia, was diagnosed malnourished, had lost a stone in 5 days, and they sent the dietician round. They really shouldn't have bothered because it made no difference to what I was offered, apart from the first morning after when I was given a small plate of watery scrambled egg (no toast, wasnt allowed both) hmm for some 'protein'. After that, all the same - being vegetarian doesn't help, half the time offered fish and other half given cheese pie/macaroni cheese/cauliflower cheese (all of which looked and tasted identical) grin

dh had to bring fruit in for me, they couldn't even do that properly, and ended up bringing a meal each day so I could try and build at least a bit of strength.

Glad to hear though that some hospitals are much better now, hopefully the rest will follow, though I don't hold out a lot of hope.


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