On June 12th a little incident happened in my home that has impacted my daily routine in a big way.
At about 10:30am I stood up from my desk and walked to answer the front door intercom and in the process managed to slip on a slightly damp tiled floor. What resulted was a left leg at a funny angle an emergency ambulance being called and rushed to A&E
It aspired my already dodgy left leg with a false knee cap ligament and then a previously broken left ankle has a new ailment – namely a displaced fracture of my femur that then required surgery and resulted in a stay in hospital for ten days.
My previous hospital incarnation 25 years ago with the knee ligament was a period I had tried to erase from my memory as the lasting memory was the food was so dire and inedible.
Well I can report even after the intervention of the likes of celebrity chefs James Martin and Llyod Grossman and a host of foodies and a plethora of consultants the food is still shit. In fact I will go further and say totally inedible with no attempt to make it in any way tasty or exciting.
Three days prior to me finally going down for an operation I was ‘Nil by Mouth’ from breakfast till dinner so hunger was setting in and even a simple sandwich or a so called ‘Cornish Pasty’ were abominations of culinary skills. Dry stale sandwiches shipped in from Bradford and a pasty with under-cooked pastry and filling with more resemblance of dog food.
On the fourth day I had to resort to a local chef friend popping in from his place of work with a plate of something edible as the thought of the NHS offer was so depressing. His Roasted Cod Fillet with Brown Shrimps and some seasonal vegetables was a real treat that was eagerly consumed.
I can honestly say over the ten day period there was only one palatable meal that I could say was edible – namely a chicken curry with rice and peas.
Breakfast was repetitive – toast of bread or a bowl of cereal – never eggs – toast always cold and cardboard like.
So where is this leading – I have nothing but praise for all the front-line staff who cared for me or were responsible for my surgery etc. The catering however was not in anyway worthy of a good word. I appreciate they have to cater for large numbers in a challenging environment and with assorted dietary needs – as one Vegan/Vegetarian pointed out to me no chance and if you were Coeliac. I reckon prisoners get better food than was dished up to me.
I feel the whole food issue within hospitals needs a total new approach and thought process – It requires radical change and an innovative approach. In fact as an organisation the NHS expertise lies in well being, medical etc and simply not providing nourishment. So why even try ?
Our Government demands the NHS becomes more efficient with the resources it gets I wonder what impact it would have if catering was removed totally from their remit and given to external providers? A discussion worth having perhaps – what says you?