You may have read media reports about patients in some NHS hospitals not
receiving good nutrition and not being supported to ensure they have
sufficient food and drink.
The issue has been raised nationally by the Care Quality Commission. I want to reassure you that it is something we take very seriously at Liverpool Women's where staff are encouraged to be vigilant about supporting patients who need help with food and drink and to monitor their nutritional and hydration needs.
It is our duty of care to meet our patients' nutritional needs while they
are with us. They should also have a good choice of food and drink that is
well presented and meets their individual needs.
Our own surveys a few years ago showed patients were not always happy with
food and how it was served. Enter celebrity Chef Simon Rimmer.
We asked Merseysider Simon to come on site and help us improve things. He
took up the challenge enthusiastically. Working with the catering team,
dietitians and patient representatives he developed a new menu of freshly
cooked meals and soups. We introduced them last year and the response of
patients has been tremendous.
We then negotiated for our new hotel services contract to include the
provision of ward hostesses. Their role is to have direct contact with
patients from taking them their first morning cup of tea right through to
the evening meal, with drinks and snacks throughout the day.
They discuss menus with patients, take their orders and can offer them
items not on the menu that are more suitable to their needs. They report
direct to the onsite Catering Manager who has four chefs in his team.
We also felt we needed to improve catering for other hospital users
including families and other visitors.So in addition to the existing cafe,
we have recently opened up our staff dining room to them, with children's
menus and for longer hours.
As for patients' meals, one of our recent gynaecology patients, aged 92,
was so pleased with the delicious home made soups she had every day that
she asked to meet the chef and had her picture taken with him!
Some other recent accolades include:
"Cannot believe it - the food is out of this world and it's all home made
and the staff are excellent"
"Best hospital meal ever - it was the standard of an outside restaurant"
"The choice of food is varied and frequent offers of tea and coffee are
just what you need when you feel, tired, achy and vulnerable"
That last word is very relevant to what we are trying to achieve. We know
patients can feel "vulnerable", whatever reason they are staying with us.
Making sure they enjoy their meals and are well nourished is an important
part of making them feel cared for.