How to solve the feeding issue in hospitals?
I see the thorny issue of hospital food has returned to the spotlight. It was due to happen and having spent time sampling the food in different hospitals over recent months it was a discussion that I got involved in one afternoon with other patients on my ward.
Much to my surprise in this small sample of people was that the vast majority would be prepared to pay for their food rather than have it delivered as part of their care. I thought that when I suggested this idea I would be under fire but quite the reverse. The reason it had so much favour was the poor quality of the current food served. It was difficult to argue with their points when you woke up early in the morning with the challenge of eating rubbery toast with insufficient butter and no offer of a low fat spread. And the expectancy of similar during the day did not inspire support from existing customers.
If this new policy was adapted new money could be made available for the NHS from existing budgets and without the current cutbacks. People could have the option of paying for a standard meal or upgrading as they desired. Food could be brought in by those that had family nearby. I am not suggesting that children, over 65s or those on low income or benefit should be included in this scheme but people able and willing to pay should be able to do so.
This is not a new idea idea. However, it deserves a lot more thought and investigation. It makes good financial sense in the current economic times. Will it ever happen? I very much doubt it because there would be so much adverse reaction from certain political parties and the media. A great pity as one of the eventual outcomes may be more privatisation.
Hospital food does need improving and here are just a few examples of what I was served or not as the case may have been: -
· In one hospital a lot of money had been invested in good quality, colourful serving trolleys to deliver the hot food to the ward. So why did the caterers disappear into an inadequately sized room and struggle to dish up the meals that were then served on uninspiring trays to patients.
· Despite pre-ordering the day before they did not have sufficient food on the day to fulfil it.
· Bean casserole on the menu was not what I had hoped for but became sausages in baked beans.
I could go on.
Hospital caterers are used to suffering bad press, just like school meals of the past, but what happened to the Lloyd Grossmann project a few years ago? Perhaps they need the attention of Jamie Oliver!
Hospitals v Hotels
A few weeks ago I was lying in an intensive care bed in Leeds. I was bored out of my mind as my gadgets such as my iPod were on the ward. My wife and eldest daughter were staying in the hotel floor of the hospital, a new development that I had not come across before. As a result I came up with the idea of identifying likenesses between hospitals and hotels. At first you might think this is a strange comparison but it was not long before the nurses were joining in and the afternoon and evening passed that much quicker.
Here are some of the ideas that we came up with:
· Both want high bed occupancy.
· They suffer from early morning fire alarms that leave people out in the cold.
· Every effort is made to ensure you feel comfortable.
· Visitors are always welcome.
· You find people smoking outside the front door, often under a no smoking sign.
· Car parking is a nightmare especially for people with disabilities.
· Computers fail at just the wrong time.
· Short staffed at night.
· Often have coffee outlets like Costa Coffee.
Please add in any others you can think of.