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Hospital food: AIBU?

(175 Posts)
IrenetheQuaint Sun 18-Dec-16 20:57:50

My 75-year-old father is in hospital - one of the best hospitals in the country - with unexplained breathing difficulties. He is not at all fussy and will generally eat anything put in front of him... but he finds the hospital food disgusting to the point of being almost inedible. I was briefly in the same hospital 15 years ago and found the same thing.

There are a few shops and cafes in the entrance bit but he is on oxygen and can't get to them. Fortunately my brother lives nearby and has managed to bring him some food in (I live 2 hours away and have a stinking cold so can't get there myself). But what about people who have no families nearby, or who can't afford to go to M&S etc two or three times a day?

How can the medical care be so good but the food so bad? If airlines can supply basic but perfectly edible food in complicated circumstances then why can't hospitals?? Good healthy food is an essential part of recovery from illness... it's appalling that the NHS can't supply this (or at least, not at this large and internationally respected hospital).

I know it costs money, but couldn't they bring in a scheme where patients contributed to food costs, with subsidies for those who can't afford it. Even a voluntary donation of £5 per person per day would surely enable a massive improvement in the service? I can't believe other Western countries are so rubbish in this respect?

ProudBadMum Sun 18-Dec-16 21:02:38

Hospital food is rank. I was offered a meal after having my daughter. I was starving as I had gone 2 days.

I was offered a jacket potatoe, cheese and beans.

I don't like beans so I said no beans please. Not possible it comes with beans. So ok I'll take it.

The cheese was sweaty. It had clearly been sat out on the side somewhere since the morning. I just couldn't eat it.

The one place where decent food is needed and it's shite. I don't know what the answer is but the hospital diet is the quickest way to lose weight

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sun 18-Dec-16 21:04:24

I was admitted for a week whilst pregnant and it was really awful. I couldn't eat anything - even the smell was appalling.

DP would bring me up sandwiches every day and some fruit.

Just not good for recuperation at all. I understand the economies of scale and difficulties of catering en masse but in the days where you can get calorifically balanced ready meals that are quite edible there is no excuse for the slop that is delivered.

lastqueenofscotland Sun 18-Dec-16 21:05:17

I just asked for toast for ages. I have a friend who is in at the moment and hasn't found it too awful, so maybe varies from trust to trust

Sidge Sun 18-Dec-16 21:05:56

The NHS don't usually provide the food in hospitals. In most, it's been contracted out and IMO is usually awful.

IHaveBrilloHair Sun 18-Dec-16 21:08:30

What, exactly is wrong with it?
I'm not trying to suggest it's great, but I've had two hospital stays this year and it was fine, boring and basic, but perfectly edible.

Is it all meals?

catwoman0815 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:08:42

I remember when I was in hospital to be induced and my lunch was spam with boiled potatoes. luckily I had food with me (in preparation for labour). still makes me shudder (and I am not fuzzy at all).

MozzchopsThirty Sun 18-Dec-16 21:08:50

More is spent on prisoners meals per head than for NHS patients
It's a disgrace

SheepyFun Sun 18-Dec-16 21:09:03

It does vary - at our local hospital, where both DH and I have 'enjoyed' extended stays, the food was completely redone about 6 years ago, and now there's a two week rolling menu, with three choices per meal (you can tell we've spent too long there!). There was pretty much always something I wanted, and on the antenatal ward, I was easily able to get 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. So it can be done....

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 18-Dec-16 21:09:28

The London hospital where I had my baby had good food. I looked forward to all my meals. So it definitely is possible to serve nice hospital meals. Sorry to hear your relatives food is so bad, OP. Can family leave him some substantial snacks to bulk out his meals?

missyB1 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:09:47

YANBU I have been a nurse for 25 years and watched the standard of hospital food deteriorate over the last ten years. I seriously worry about some patients being malnourished whilst in hospital. One of the things that has changed has been meals no longer being cooked on site in a lot of hospitals, instead being transported in from elsewhere. I think that is part of the problem. I imagine budgets are also an issue.

TheFairyCaravan Sun 18-Dec-16 21:10:15

Asking people to contribute £5 per day for food when they're in hospital is a bloody ridiculous idea. It's a tax on the sick which most people can't afford.

The trouble is, like everything now, it's been contracted out to the lowest bidder so they have very little money to provide the food. Then it has to be kept warm en route from the kitchens to the wards. It's not an easy task.

Gooseygoosey12345 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:10:56

Yanbu at all! I don't understand how the NHS can preach about eating well then allow such awful food to be served it's in hospitals. I'd have happily paid for "proper" food had it been available while I'd been in.

YoHoHoandabottleofTequila Sun 18-Dec-16 21:11:43

I had good food when I was in hospital.

I wouldn't call airline food edible.

YouAndMeAreGoingToFallOut Sun 18-Dec-16 21:14:04

I've just spent a week in hospital with pneumonia and was actually pleasantly surprised by the food, which was all edible and kind of nice in an institutional way. Not massively healthy though. I understand that in the hospital I was in the food is still cooked onsite and I think that makes a huge difference.

Eevee77 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:15:11

I was in hospital 5 days after haven no DS. It made me cringe but it was edible. Portions were tiny though. I was having only around 1000 calories a day which isn't really enough.

e1y1 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:15:21

IMO you will never get better medical care than the Republic of Ireland (however, you have to pay/have insurance as no NHS).

Food - still shit.

Mammylamb Sun 18-Dec-16 21:15:47

Yip, agree the food is awful. I'm veggie and the veggie options were dire. Are a lot less fruit and veg that I was used to and ended up with horrific constipation

IrenetheQuaint Sun 18-Dec-16 21:18:38

"More is spent on prisoners meals per head than for NHS patients"

Seriously Mozzchops?? That's appalling.

Good to hear that some people have good (or at least OK) experiences of hospital food. That suggests that it should be possible across the board?

(My experience over the last 20 years is that airline food has gone (on average) from disgusting to basically fine. I've flown lots in economy over the last 10 years and am almost always happy to eat the meal. Basic chicken stew, tomato pasta, a cheese and salad sandwich, that sort of thing,)

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 18-Dec-16 21:19:47

when fil was in hospital we provided him his meals essentially as they were either really bad or positioned out of reach...
you ask yourself how do people get fed when they don't have family/friends who provide.

op, can you give him a tube of ketchup or mustard to make slop more palatable?

BarryTheKestrel Sun 18-Dec-16 21:20:21

The food is awful. When DH is in hospital I have to make food and take it for him as they can't provide a coeliac meal. A hospital can't provide for a medically required diet. It's insane. My great aunt often gets very poorly in hospital as a diabetic as the food is so awful.
When I had my daughter I didn't really eat for 4 days other than a single daily sandwich from the shop.

AliceInUnderpants Sun 18-Dec-16 21:23:16

I don't mind hospital food, I'm just grateful to have someone feeding me when I'm ill.

Cereal for breakfast
Sandwich and soup for lunch
And something is usually edible at teatime, and there's usually an ok pudding too.

And I'm sure someone would fetch you toast if you were really struggling.

Allthewaves Sun 18-Dec-16 21:24:22

I work in out local hospital (not food section). We have same food patients in dining room. It's basic but ok, not amazing but perfectly edibble.

When I was having my dc, lots of women complained about food and refused to eat it. I thought it was fine. Lots of veg, meat - quite traditional - perhaps not everyone's taste

OhtoblazeswithElvira Sun 18-Dec-16 21:25:29

Wales. Our health trust has lots of problems but hospital food is good. Some choice, big portions, variety from on day to the other. I can be fussy beggar but I looked forward to all my meals! So it can be done.

annandale Sun 18-Dec-16 21:25:38

The hospitals I work in really do have OK food. I would happily eat it. Again they have kitchens on site. It would be good to do a granular survey of patient experiences of food compared with kitchens on site versus cook chill or whatever happens in the ones without kitchens.

I remember thinking what a waste of an opportunity that review of hospital food headed up by Lloyd Grossman that happened early in the first Blair administration was. I remember some announcement of a new suggested menu, as if the problem was crap recipes, rather than actually grappling with the inherent difficulties of producing institutional food of several different clinically and socially necessary types in vast amounts to a budget that wouldn't pay for a budgie's bird seed.

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