18:33 Friday 22 February 2013

Hospital insists its food is fine amid criticism

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

SENIOR staff at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital have insisted that the unit delivers a high standard of food amid criticism of meals on offer at hospitals up and down the country.

A campaign group has called for food in hospitals to have compulsory national standards, after claiming that 20 years of trying to improve the quality of meals had failed, stating that patients deserve a wider variety of choice.

But catering bosses at the Belvedere Road unit insist it is not suffering from any problems which hospitals elsewhere may be experiencing.

In contrast, the hospital says that it ‘prides itself’ on the standard of meals it offers, and had made an intentional effort to invest in the area over the last four years.

A report from The Campaign for Better Hospital Food said that 21 voluntary initiatives had failed since 1992, and that decisive action needed to be taken to improve standards, stating that two-thirds of hospital staff wouldn’t eat the food on offer.

But Geoff Neild, head of facilities who oversees the catering function at the hospital, insisted that Queen’s Hospital provided a range of ‘appetising’ meals.

He said: “We pride ourselves on the fact that we have retained our own catering unit and thanks to the introduction of new cook-chill processes also supply meals to other NHS and other organisations.

“We take a great deal of care to provide a wide range of appetising meals with more than 50 different menus produced during a four-week period with a choice of four to five main courses on each menu.

“As our meals are freshly produced on site we maintain full control over ingredients and their quality using prime cuts of meats, producing quality dishes and resulting in less complaints and wastage.

“We believe that this investment in our own catering unit has really benefited patients as we can respond much more readily to the demands made on our catering services.”

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