So many celebrity chef initiatives to improve institutional catering have sunk without trace but the NHS could not possibly ignore the message from James Martin’s series ending today. There are exceptions, of course, but from my experience and observations in various hospitals over recent years the services – especially meals – provided to patients suffer due to poor communication, lack of planning and, in a lot of cases, ancilliary staff who don’t understand patient needs or really care.
I saw a comment from another correspondent suggesting that hospital services should not be ‘run like businesses’, but not adopting common sense business disciplines like knowing in advance how many people to cook for is precisely why an estimated 40% of untouched prepared food is thrown away.
I don’t know whether James gets to see this forum but ne obvious solution that I think he missed that would overcome this particular failing would be to utilise the barcoded patient wristband system now adopted by the NHS for clinical purposes. Surely it would not be difficult to make some of the data captured available to hospital catering operations so that they know exactly how many patients are on each ward at any given time, maybe even providing information about individual patients’ special dietary needs.