28th Oct, 2016

Improvements on hospital menu

Leamington Editorial 16th Sep, 2014 Updated: 7 hours ago

EATING the food at Warwick Hospital was not going to aid a patient’s recovery if a recent report was anything to go by.

The Observer recently revealed the hospital on Lakin Road was in the bottom ten per cent of the country for food quality – ranking 1,125th out of 1,250 hospitals – in a national survey.

Recognising improvements needed to be made, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) bosses have completely changed what food they serve and how it is presented to both patients, staff and visitors.

Wanting to show how they have changed for the better, SWFT invited the Observer to try the new menu.

The trust is working with Food for Life Partnership (FFLP), an initiative encouraging people to choose the healthy option.

They have also recruited hotel services group Amey to provide their new catering service, together with portering, security and linen services – a five-year contract costing £4.6 million.

Hospital head chef Paul Doughty said: “All of the menu excluding two items are made completely fresh on site.

“We are using traceable foods and where possible ingredients that are local. I have worked here for 39 years and this is the best the food has ever been. The canteen is always full and people especially love the new salad bar.”

And after tasting the food it is clear the trust has worked hard to remove the bad taste left by the most recent food quality ranking.

Classics like home made chicken and leek pie, Lancashire hot pot and shepherd’s pie are some of the highlights of the new menu, with cod in tomato and herb sauce a personal favourite of this reporter.

The deserts have also undergone a makeover – cheesecakes served in shot glasses and sticky toffee pudding and custard for those wanting something more substantial.

SWFT associate director of operations Claire Hinds said: “It is about improving the patient’s meal experience and improving their health choices.

“Making sure people are eating a balanced diet and meeting these needs is most important to Warwick and we hope with the FFLP and Amey we will be able to achieve this.

“In surveys of the food on the ward, people said they like the new choices but it needs to be hotter. That is the only thing we have to work on.”

To combat food cooling down too quickly the trust will be introducing heated serving trolleys to keep food warm when it is taken from the kitchens onto the ward.

These will not be provided until January – with water baths will be used in the meantime – and bosses also hope to replace their paper menus with tablet computers to help people select their food using picture options.

Elderly patients and those with dementia will see the biggest benefit as staff will talk to their families upon their arrival about their relative’s likes and dislikes and spend more time helping the patient eat.

SWFT also runs nearby Leamington Hospital which ranked 760th in the food quality list; Stratford which came in at 840th, and Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston which was placed 247th,

The three hospitals all scored comfortably between a 90 and 99 per cent satisfaction rate for the taste and appearance of food, but Warwick trailed in with just 82 per cent.

Following the extensive changes, the trust will be looking to dramatically improve its ranking next year.

Head Chef Paul Doughty and his team Alan Credgington, Maj Saad, Dave Fox, Gurnam Jendhu, and Jass Kuar are providing fresh food for staff, patients and visitors. 38.014.001.leam.jm8

Preparing the salad bar. 38.014.001.leam.jm7

Patients Phyllis Willekens, Christine Payne and Micheline Bartlett told manager try out teh new menu with Amey hotel services Mark Rowland and associate director of operations Claire Hinds. 38.014.001.leam.jm1