‘Come Dine With Us’ nurses at Royal London urge hospital visitors
- Credit: Barts NHS PR
Hospital patients tucked into a slap-up lunch at the Royal London—and so did their visitors.
The orthopedic ward turned into a bid of a picnic as friends and relatives were invited by nurses to join them at lunchtime to see what hospital food is really like on the NHS.
The Come Dine With Us idea by Barts NHS Health Trust in east London was to test public reaction to hospital catering and get “feedback”, as it were, about the food it provides patients.
The patients were also asked about whether there was a varied enough menu choice, if the food was hot enough and how well it tasted—much of the menu in this ethnic part of town included a variety of Halal options.
Sala Uddin, 25, laid up with a broken leg after a tumble playing football, had the Halal Shepherd’s Pie with vegetables and was pleased the NHS was reflecting the East End’s “cultures of the people”.
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But he was also learning himself about nutrition by the “healthy food” being served up while he was stuck in hospital.
He and his family were joined by medical staff who were also invited to have some grub on the NHS, like Aklima Rahman, a 27-year-old staff nurse from Poplar who has worked at the hospital in Whitechapel for more than three years.
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“Giving patients a choice of menu which reflects their culture really helps create a feeling of comfort in a hospital environment,” she said.
“It means they’re more likely to enjoy mealtimes, while at the same time the healthy nutrition is vital to their recovery so that their bones heal faster.”
The hospital is using the “feedback” information from the share-a-meal trial to improve the variety of food on its daily menu and make it more appealing when patients need nourishment most to help the immune system and speed recovery.
But there is also a subtle agenda to spread the idea in the community of healthy foods with reduced fats and sugars and more fibre and natural glucose.
The East End is particularly prone to things like diabetes due to bad diet, a study four years ago by the Maslaha health education charity in Bethnal Green found.
The Come Dine With Us invitation at the Royal London wasn’t just about NHS bosses getting “feedback” on hospital food, but also making healthy diets standard in the population.