WHAT’S on the menu for Welsh hospital patients?
Tepid tapioca and revolting ravioli may have gone the same way as the cane in schools – thanks to a Government emphasis on nutrition and taste – and even prisons have been forced to abide by tighter standards.
However, while some hospitals in England are rating their food as “excellent”, a survey from independent health regulator the Care Quality Commission suggests patients think otherwise.
In some self-rated hospitals which gave themselves “excellent” and “good” ratings, less than half of patients questioned agreed the food was “good”.
Alex Jackson, co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “It is time for the Government to come clean about the sorry state of hospital food in England and set mandatory standards for patient meals.”
It could be that Wales already has the recipe for success.
In April the Welsh Government standardised the nutritional and quality guidelines for hospitals across Wales.
It is inevitable some Wrexham and Flintshire patients will spend time in English hospitals, with some specialised treatments unavailable in Wales.
So what were their experiences of hospital nosh? And do they differ on either side of the border?
The Leader asked NHS patients to respond on the Facebook page, and plenty shared their views.
Rob Williams, of Cynwyd, near Llangollen, wrote: “The food I had while staying in the Royal Manchester children’s ward last year was absolutely atrocious.
“Sometimes I received food that wasn’t even cooked properly. This had to be confirmed by a family member as I wouldn’t have noticed as I am blind. Not good for a kidney transplant patient.
“I’m also sad to say I was actually able to count the number of chips I received – 10. I mean 10 chips, need I say more?”
Samantha Williams, of Acrefair, wrote that the food she had eaten at the Maelor hospital after being admitted to give birth to her son was “ok” and staff managed to serve it hot, despite the number of patients.
Gemma Louise Chirgwin, originally of Rossett and now living in Mold, wrote: “The food I witnessed on the Pantomime and Prince of Wales ward of Wrexham Maelor were cheap microwave meals.
“It was quite surprising considering the cafe downstairs serves some lovely sandwiches.”
Hayley Maggs, of Wrexham, posted: “When I was in Wrexham hospital the food wasn’t very good. I had cheese on toast once and it looked like it been sitting round for a few days – it was very soggy.”
Donna Marie Davies, of Wrexham, stated that of course there should be high standards of food delivered in every hospital, as it was basic common sense.
Mike Davies, of Gresford, wrote of the Maelor: “I had to stick with the salad. But it really wasn’t that bad.”
Rea Jones, of Bagillt, wrote: “Having been in and out of Glan Clwyd Hospital (near St Asaph) for more than 30 years I have to say their food is fine.
“Bear in mind you’re not in hospital for the food. You are there because you’re ill. It’s not a five star hotel.”
Janet Ditchfield, of Wrexham, posted: “I’ve been in the Maelor over the years and the food was fine. The best is Derby Royal where there was a wide selection from all ethnic meals, plus my own en suite room on the NHS, but salt is banned on the renal unit.”
Georgina Allan, of Mold, wrote: “To be quite honest, I’ve had a brilliant experience in Glan Clwyd Hospital a week ago. The food was lovely and I was always asked if I wanted snacks when it wasnt meal times. It was good.”