Action needed over hospital food

Having spent over 2 months in both the Calderdale hospitals at the beginning of this year, I feel I have some experience of the food provided on both Huddersfield and Halifax wards.

Your article in The Courier (Weds 19 October) concerns itself mainly with costs per head allocated for meals.

The actual monetary amount is, I have found, not the real problem but the actual quality of the meals themselves, as well as the manner in which they are prepared and delivered to the bedside.

In Huddersfield the meals are cooked in their own kitchens by, it seems, people who have a knowledge of how to cook real ingredients and other staff who present and deliver the end product with personal interest and concern that the individual patient gets what they require.

Halifax, in my understanding, has outside industrial production and purchase of the food, as no major kitchen facilities were built into the new hospital.

This is re-heated and delivered impersonally like it or lump it. The odd lump would have been an interesting alternative to what was on the plate!

Anyone who has any experience of ‘real’ food( and I’m not talking haute cuisine) would baulk (or worse) at the quality, appearance and presentation of this ‘stuff’. When the meals are often the high point of the day, I know which provided the experience to me.

When I made ‘enquires’ as to why there was such a difference between hospitals in the same Trust I gained no meaningful answers - ‘that was just the way things were’ and ‘ most patients don’t complain about it’.

It seems they still are, or £75,000 would not be wasted.

If the director of SSentif were himself, or some other suitable standards inspector to visit, preferably unannounced, and see what actually is done with the monies allotted to food then something, other than figures, may lead to the proper provision of meals, which would then not be uneaten and good money wasted.

Robert Donald

Savile Mews