Thursday, 27 October 2016

Powdered egg anyone?

Column published in Llaneli Star on 26th October 2016

Powdered egg anyone?

Doesn’t sound very appetising does it? But it’s on the menu at Glangwyli hospital in Carmarthen. I questioned Wales’ Chief Nurse about it last week and asked if she liked powdered egg. “It depends what's in it”, she replied.

I used my position on the Assembly’s respected Public Accounts Committee to hold a hearing on the quality of hospital food. It may not be the most glamorous of subjects but having read a recent report by the Auditor General for Wales on how the quality of food offered to sick patients differs between health boards I was genuinely angered by what I read.

One in three patients said that they found the meals unappetising in the last patient survey carried out across Wales. A Million pounds worth of food is thrown away uneaten every year.

We called the Chief Executive of the NHS in Wales and the Chief Nurse to explain.

They’ve made a lot of progress they told the committee, and in fact other evidence shows that more than 90% of patients find the food appetising.

But I’m not convinced. When I asked people in Facebook for their experience I had a range of people telling me food can be unappetising; and a number who told me that people with special dietary requirements are not well catered for.

The NHS chiefs said they didn’t think there was a big problem. My suggestion to them was that if the same food that is served to patients is served in the canteens of health boards and the Welsh Government they’d be able to see for themselves if the food is good enough.

They weren’t keen,

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