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Transforming patient food
- The General Hospital uses a ‘Cook Chill’ food operation that has been modified and rationalised since being introduced in 1987. This is an internationally-recognised system providing safe, palatable, nutritious food for patients and staff alike; around 60% of NHS trusts use this system.
- The catering team at the General Hospital have made enormous efforts to transform the patient food service, with a focus on increased quality and choice for patients, alongside a significant reduction in waste and costs. This project has involved a multi-disciplinary team including catering staff, dieticians, speech and language therapists, clinicians, housekeepers, procurement and senior management, and of course patients.
- A 14-day rolling menu programme that allows the patient a greater variety of choices, with specific allowances for the numerous dietary requirements that exist. All new dishes are trialled prior to being introduced.
- A number of lower-quality frozen bought-in products have been removed and replaced with homemade fresh dishes, many of which use local, fresh, quality ingredients provided by Island wholesalers. Once the dishes are ready they are simply chilled, delivered prior to meal times and then cooked at ward level – this final stage utilises new convection ovens to optimise the look and quality of the dishes.
- A new IT system enables the exact amount of meals required on a daily basis to be calculated; all wastage is audited so that costs are kept to a minimum.
Results of transformation programme
- Patients are regularly asked to feedback, with surveys which are printed on the back of every menu and regular ward visits by management from the catering team. This means patient responses can be analysed, enabling the catering team to identify favourite dishes and those that are less popular.
- A patient food survey saw 90% of patients rating food from ‘Okay’ to ‘Very Good’, comparing very favourably with the NHS Picker Survey in the UK which placed only 59% of respondents in this category. The percentage of Jersey patients ranking the food as ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’ was 3.9%, contrasting with a national figure of 13%.
- The patient food transformation project won one of the 2017 Quality Improvement Awards for the whole of Health and Social Services, selected as the best improvement demonstrating value for money.
The current General Hospital kitchen and move to St Peter’s Technical Park
- The kitchen facility at the General Hospital has evolved and been added to over the years and requires constant maintenance. The age of the building creates challenges for maintaining high standards of hygiene and cleanliness, and means space cannot be used effectively.
- The forthcoming move of our catering unit to St Peter will mean all members of the catering team will be located in a purpose-built environment on a single site. The new unit will be able to cope with the provision of 1,500 to 2,000 meals per day, with capacity to expand to meet the needs of the ageing population in the future.
- The new unit will be providing all of the food not only for the General Hospital but also for the satellite units across Health and Social Services such as Overdale, Sandybrook, Meals On Wheels etc.
- Food deliveries will now be streamlined, halving the anticipated number of deliveries to the General Hospital site compared with current arrangements.
- By vacating the current kitchen area, valuable space will be freed up which will house outpatient services relocated from the Gwyneth Huelin wing during the construction of the new hospital.
- When the new hospital is completed, it is envisaged that all patients will be able to order their meals electronically using hand-held tablets rather than the current paper-based system, with pictures of the menu choices that will help patients with dementia.
The over-arching aim is to deliver to the people of Jersey, safe, appetising, nutritious, cost-effective and appealing food from the new location at St Peter.
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