Patient Food Revolution
The way that hospital food is being served is being given a radical makeover at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as eligible patients are being given the opportunity to eat their meals away from their bedside with friends and family in the restaurant.
Patients who are well enough to leave their beds will be able to order meal vouchers which they can take to the NNUH’s restaurant to exchange for a daily choice of three hot meals, desserts, tea and coffee served at tablecloth-clad tables.
Friends and family will be encouraged to join patients as they dine and will receive a 10 per cent discount on their bill.
The move is part of a hospital initiative designed to treat patients holistically and is in partnership with Norfolk chef Richard Hughes, who has been working with the NNUH and Serco since 2012 to improve hospital food and the choices available for patients, staff and visitors.
Richard Hughes said: “Good food is as essential as the treatment and care that patients receive while they’re at hospital and we have recognised that a great deal of the enjoyment of food is who you eat it with, the way you are served and the feeling that the people who have made your food have put a lot of thought and effort into it.
“By offering patients the chance to dine away from their beds and with their loved ones, it promotes recovery in many ways. It means patients are more mobile, more sociable and as research has shown, happy patients tend to heal faster.”
The first two wards to benefit from the voucher scheme are Docking and Edgefield Wards with a plan to roll out the programme in the future.
Emma McKay, Director of Nursing said: “The scheme is a great way to encourage patients to be mobile and to enjoy eating with their family as they would do at home. It is very important to keep patients fluid and nutritional intake up whilst in hospital and this scheme will help encourage that with meal times that people look forward to with their family.”
Jon Batchelor, retail catering lead for Serco, said: “Ward nurses will inform the catering team who can eat at the restaurant which will be patients who are independently mobile and who have no dietary needs which need to be monitored by medics.
“We hope the voucher scheme will greatly enhance patient recovery, giving them a different environment to relax and dine in. All the dishes we will be serving in the restaurant have been checked by hospital dieticians. It may seem like a small move, but actually it’s a revolution in the way that hospital food works.”
At least 2,000 people visit the NNUH’s restaurant daily and more than 7,000 staff work at the site. Serco chefs provide food for 27 special diets, a wide range of age groups and for the differing needs of wards ranging from oncology to maternity.
Serco account director Nayab Haider said that his plan has always been for the NNUH to be a flagship hospital for the food it provides its patients.
“Nutrition is a very important part of patient care and is an essential part of patient recovery. To promote this, we have introduced our latest in a long line of innovations, the patient meal voucher. The meal voucher gives the patient an opportunity to dine in the hospital restaurant which will make mealtimes more social and mean we can embrace a more holistic approach to the service we provide.
“Our research shows us that patients who are well enough to visit our restaurants would welcome the opportunity to leave their wards to eat. Serco and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital aspire to continuously improve the food we offer to patients and our longstanding partnership with Richard Hughes has helped to make this vision possible. I passionately believe this will truly revolutionise the way we provide patient care.”