Hospital food in Worcestershire ranked among the worst in England

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

First published in News by

FOOD at the three major hospitals in Worcestershire along with two mental health units in the county has been ranked as some of the worst in the country.

A report issued by the Department of Health on Friday showed Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital as well as the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch ranked in the bottom 20 per cent in England for the quality of the food on offer following inspections carried out between March and June this year.

A pair of mental health units - the Robertson Centre in Kidderminster and Hill Crest in Redditch, both run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust - also scored in the bottom fifth.

The Royal received the lowest score in the county at 82.76 per cent, while the Alex ranked at 85.14 and Kidderminster Hospital 86.67, all below the national average of 88.79 per cent.

Although Hill Crest scored 84.38 per cent while the Robertson Centre received 85.27, all other community hospitals, mental health units and other services run by the Health and Care Trust fared better.

Chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust - which runs the Royal and the Alex along with Kidderminster Hospital - Penny Venables said she was "very disappointed" by the figures.

"Nutrition is an extremely important part of patient recovery and we are constantly striving to improve and continue to invest in nutrition to make sure we are providing high-quality meals which meet the needs of all our patients," she said.

"We take the results of surveys seriously and we will now be looking very closely at the measures we need to take to ensure the quality of our food improves."

Food is provided by an in-house catering team at the Kidderminster Hospital and the Alex, while an external company runs provides meals at the Royal and Mrs Venables said the trust would be meeting with the teams to identify where improvements could be made.

A spokesperson from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said the organisation would work to address the figures.

“The trust runs a number of inpatient units and five community hospitals and the vast majority of these are ranked as either among the best or above average in relation to the quality of the meals provided," she said.

"A couple of our adult mental health wards are below that average.

"These wards support younger adults and we are looking at whether the menus we provide can be tweaked to meet the expectations of younger people a bit more."

Only seven hospitals and services in the country scored lowest than 60 per cent.

Lee Mill, a secure mental health unit in Plymouth, scored lowest in the country at 35.19 per cent while a number of services throughout England achieved 100 per cent.

After the figures were released health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced all hospitals in the country would be ranked on the quality of their food on the NHS Choices website.

Comments (16)

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7:12pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Retired Ward Sister says...

No surprise there then. As a patient over a long period of time I experienced the most awful food despite the efforts of the staff to present it in a palatable way. Steak with which shoes could have been repaired and a pear which could have had another life as a cricket ball. Soggy sandwiches and poor quality packet type soup and cheap yogurt. The best meal of the day was always breakfast because at the time staff were allowed to make fresh toast. Bring back the on site kitchens where dedicated staff can produce wholesome fresh food sourced locally as much as possible.
No surprise there then. As a patient over a long period of time I experienced the most awful food despite the efforts of the staff to present it in a palatable way. Steak with which shoes could have been repaired and a pear which could have had another life as a cricket ball. Soggy sandwiches and poor quality packet type soup and cheap yogurt. The best meal of the day was always breakfast because at the time staff were allowed to make fresh toast. Bring back the on site kitchens where dedicated staff can produce wholesome fresh food sourced locally as much as possible. Retired Ward Sister
  • Score: 22

7:28pm Fri 29 Aug 14

3thinker says...

The NHS never ceases to amaze.

Its so obvious that decent food and lifestyles can improve health outcomes, yet when it comes to looking after its patients and staff it demonstrates some of the worst practices.

Perhaps time for a radical change in which it works better directly and with others on preventive measures such as healthy diets, regular exercise and avoidance of alcohol and other drugs.
The NHS never ceases to amaze. Its so obvious that decent food and lifestyles can improve health outcomes, yet when it comes to looking after its patients and staff it demonstrates some of the worst practices. Perhaps time for a radical change in which it works better directly and with others on preventive measures such as healthy diets, regular exercise and avoidance of alcohol and other drugs. 3thinker
  • Score: 14

8:32pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Westhamoldguy says...

hospitals are on reduced budgets, with less and less money to spend and hospitals being 'fined' what do we really want the meagre budget spent on? High class cuisine on first class medical care? I would rather the staff get me better than provide first rate free dining.
hospitals are on reduced budgets, with less and less money to spend and hospitals being 'fined' what do we really want the meagre budget spent on? High class cuisine on first class medical care? I would rather the staff get me better than provide first rate free dining. Westhamoldguy
  • Score: 26

8:48pm Fri 29 Aug 14

3thinker says...

Westhamoldguy wrote:
hospitals are on reduced budgets, with less and less money to spend and hospitals being 'fined' what do we really want the meagre budget spent on? High class cuisine on first class medical care? I would rather the staff get me better than provide first rate free dining.
Good recovery depends on getting appetising and healthy meals. I'm no expert but suspect that spending more on improving the catering will deliver better health returns for the majority of patients than spending yet more on expensive drugs. Its also likely to mean they'll be able to leave hospital sooner and more likely to need less NHS and Social Service support when they do leave hospital.

Unfortunately in the perverse world of NHS targets its this sort of thing along with preventative care that falls off the radar.
[quote][p][bold]Westhamoldguy[/bold] wrote: hospitals are on reduced budgets, with less and less money to spend and hospitals being 'fined' what do we really want the meagre budget spent on? High class cuisine on first class medical care? I would rather the staff get me better than provide first rate free dining.[/p][/quote]Good recovery depends on getting appetising and healthy meals. I'm no expert but suspect that spending more on improving the catering will deliver better health returns for the majority of patients than spending yet more on expensive drugs. Its also likely to mean they'll be able to leave hospital sooner and more likely to need less NHS and Social Service support when they do leave hospital. Unfortunately in the perverse world of NHS targets its this sort of thing along with preventative care that falls off the radar. 3thinker
  • Score: 10

9:07pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Westhamoldguy says...

The hospitals are being told that a percentage of food must be local and a percentage has to be fairtrade, we all know that these foods cost more, yet they are reducing budgets, so where does the money come from? I ask again would you rather have better free food at the cost of a nurses job? The hospital is NOT a food bank, and personally when I had 2 heart attacks I care what I was fed, I cared that they fixed my heart, and the doctors and nurses did that.
The hospitals are being told that a percentage of food must be local and a percentage has to be fairtrade, we all know that these foods cost more, yet they are reducing budgets, so where does the money come from? I ask again would you rather have better free food at the cost of a nurses job? The hospital is NOT a food bank, and personally when I had 2 heart attacks I care what I was fed, I cared that they fixed my heart, and the doctors and nurses did that. Westhamoldguy
  • Score: 8

9:53pm Fri 29 Aug 14

3thinker says...

Westhamoldguy wrote:
The hospitals are being told that a percentage of food must be local and a percentage has to be fairtrade, we all know that these foods cost more, yet they are reducing budgets, so where does the money come from? I ask again would you rather have better free food at the cost of a nurses job? The hospital is NOT a food bank, and personally when I had 2 heart attacks I care what I was fed, I cared that they fixed my heart, and the doctors and nurses did that.
Good nutrition is an important part of any recovery (so is regular exercise, but obviously not always possible to get started on when in hospital). Its also not expensive when compared to the wider costs involved and as some hospitals have proven it doesn't have to be more expensive. It may actually mean you leave hospital that bit earlier and could save in longer term costs on the NHS.

Equally doing more to encourage healthier diets and more active lifestyles to avoid heart attacks could save the NHS lots of money that could be freed up to improve services for those who need care.

I do however agree that as budgets get tighter there may be a case for charging for the cost of meals as it would certainly be an expense patients would have if not in hospital.
[quote][p][bold]Westhamoldguy[/bold] wrote: The hospitals are being told that a percentage of food must be local and a percentage has to be fairtrade, we all know that these foods cost more, yet they are reducing budgets, so where does the money come from? I ask again would you rather have better free food at the cost of a nurses job? The hospital is NOT a food bank, and personally when I had 2 heart attacks I care what I was fed, I cared that they fixed my heart, and the doctors and nurses did that.[/p][/quote]Good nutrition is an important part of any recovery (so is regular exercise, but obviously not always possible to get started on when in hospital). Its also not expensive when compared to the wider costs involved and as some hospitals have proven it doesn't have to be more expensive. It may actually mean you leave hospital that bit earlier and could save in longer term costs on the NHS. Equally doing more to encourage healthier diets and more active lifestyles to avoid heart attacks could save the NHS lots of money that could be freed up to improve services for those who need care. I do however agree that as budgets get tighter there may be a case for charging for the cost of meals as it would certainly be an expense patients would have if not in hospital. 3thinker
  • Score: 5

12:13am Sat 30 Aug 14

Westcott8895 says...

I have no complaints about the food served at Worcestershire royal hospital, All of the food is of a very high standard and competitively priced.
Every time my partner stayed in hospital when about to give birth, all of our meals have been nice nothing to complain about all of it tasted fine.
I have no complaints about the food served at Worcestershire royal hospital, All of the food is of a very high standard and competitively priced. Every time my partner stayed in hospital when about to give birth, all of our meals have been nice nothing to complain about all of it tasted fine. Westcott8895
  • Score: 3

8:10am Sat 30 Aug 14

Phil Pegler says...

I have not been an inpatient at Worcestershire Royal,but the quality of food in the staff and patient Riverside restaurant is 1st class.in quality and nutritional value.It is a pity the chefs there cannot be allowed to cater for the inpatients as well.Having said that,do not many people have funny ideas on what they eat?I grew up in an orphanage where the food was terrible but in wartime we ate anything.Consequentl
y I live on regular meals (none of this takeway stuff and pop etc.,) and take plenty of excercise (at 82yrs) and do not smoke and drink alcohol in moderation.Every day is a joy to be alive!
Phil Pegler 01905729952
I have not been an inpatient at Worcestershire Royal,but the quality of food in the staff and patient Riverside restaurant is 1st class.in quality and nutritional value.It is a pity the chefs there cannot be allowed to cater for the inpatients as well.Having said that,do not many people have funny ideas on what they eat?I grew up in an orphanage where the food was terrible but in wartime we ate anything.Consequentl y I live on regular meals (none of this takeway stuff and pop etc.,) and take plenty of excercise (at 82yrs) and do not smoke and drink alcohol in moderation.Every day is a joy to be alive! Phil Pegler 01905729952 Phil Pegler
  • Score: 4

9:13am Sat 30 Aug 14

brooksider says...

Worcestershire Royal Hospital ship patient's food from Manchester at a cost of £12 to £13.
So not only is the food poor, we have the pleasure of paying more for it than if it was freshly prepared in Hospital kitchens.
Worcestershire Royal Hospital ship patient's food from Manchester at a cost of £12 to £13. So not only is the food poor, we have the pleasure of paying more for it than if it was freshly prepared in Hospital kitchens. brooksider
  • Score: 10

11:30am Sat 30 Aug 14

pinkfluff says...

Sounds like another nail in the coffin for the NHS. Set ridiculous targets, try to squeeze more and more out of the service while reducing the budget......then hey presto!! The NHS is "failing" so the Tories can carve it up and sell it off to their mates so they can then earn huge profits on these services that were "failing".
Sounds like another nail in the coffin for the NHS. Set ridiculous targets, try to squeeze more and more out of the service while reducing the budget......then hey presto!! The NHS is "failing" so the Tories can carve it up and sell it off to their mates so they can then earn huge profits on these services that were "failing". pinkfluff
  • Score: 5

11:50am Sat 30 Aug 14

danieled says...

I spent three months last year in the Worcester hospital. Although I was off my food, all I could eat was Weetabix for breakfast and half a rubbery omelette for lunch - and it was not for want of trying. Even the pureed meals were almost inedible. My daughter resorted to bringing in liquidised food twice a day. In the end they resorted to feeding me by tube overnight. The problem, as somebody else has said, is that the food travels for hundreds of miles and then reheated, turning it into rubber.

By contrast the Timberdine rehab centre meals were cooked inhouse and were the equal of the best restaurants. There is obviously a difference in the number of patients in the hospital and Timberdine, but it should be possible to have several small kitchens in the hospital serving a few wards located around them.
I spent three months last year in the Worcester hospital. Although I was off my food, all I could eat was Weetabix for breakfast and half a rubbery omelette for lunch - and it was not for want of trying. Even the pureed meals were almost inedible. My daughter resorted to bringing in liquidised food twice a day. In the end they resorted to feeding me by tube overnight. The problem, as somebody else has said, is that the food travels for hundreds of miles and then reheated, turning it into rubber. By contrast the Timberdine rehab centre meals were cooked inhouse and were the equal of the best restaurants. There is obviously a difference in the number of patients in the hospital and Timberdine, but it should be possible to have several small kitchens in the hospital serving a few wards located around them. danieled
  • Score: 9

8:10am Sun 31 Aug 14

green49 says...

"We take the results of surveys seriously and we will now be looking very closely at the measures we need to take to ensure the quality of our food improves."

I am sick of these sort of statements, the jobs not being done is it???

i was recently in the WRH and saw what was being dished up i wouldnt have even insulted my dog with giving it to him.
"We take the results of surveys seriously and we will now be looking very closely at the measures we need to take to ensure the quality of our food improves." I am sick of these sort of statements, the jobs not being done is it??? i was recently in the WRH and saw what was being dished up i wouldnt have even insulted my dog with giving it to him. green49
  • Score: 5

10:47am Sun 31 Aug 14

BAC says...

Nothing changes! My husband was in patient in Stroke Unit twelve months ago! I actually made a formal complaint about the inedible food and like a lot of people I took his food in!! Sandwiches which were prepacked and not even opened if I wasn't there, a trifle which was still "frozen" etc etc! I had a meeting with "someone" who was going to take up my complaint and get back to me, nothing ever happened! I too mentioned the quality of the food at Riverside and questioned "why" the same standards couldn't apply on the wards to be told that because the hospital is a PPI, food cannot be prepared on site!!!!!!
I too can also say that the food at Timberdine was excellent, why, because it's produced on site!
The NHS should take a leaf out of St Richard's all food there is prepared and cooked on site as is the food at the new Perry Manor Care Home - common denominator of good food - freshly cooked on site, which won't happen at Worcester!
Nothing changes! My husband was in patient in Stroke Unit twelve months ago! I actually made a formal complaint about the inedible food and like a lot of people I took his food in!! Sandwiches which were prepacked and not even opened if I wasn't there, a trifle which was still "frozen" etc etc! I had a meeting with "someone" who was going to take up my complaint and get back to me, nothing ever happened! I too mentioned the quality of the food at Riverside and questioned "why" the same standards couldn't apply on the wards to be told that because the hospital is a PPI, food cannot be prepared on site!!!!!! I too can also say that the food at Timberdine was excellent, why, because it's produced on site! The NHS should take a leaf out of St Richard's all food there is prepared and cooked on site as is the food at the new Perry Manor Care Home - common denominator of good food - freshly cooked on site, which won't happen at Worcester! BAC
  • Score: 5

9:44am Tue 2 Sep 14

Graham Copson says...

I spent 4 days at the Alex in March of this year for a knee replacement. I have to say the food I had was first class and served well. It's about time people started to praise the service we all get instead of keep running it down.
I spent 4 days at the Alex in March of this year for a knee replacement. I have to say the food I had was first class and served well. It's about time people started to praise the service we all get instead of keep running it down. Graham Copson
  • Score: 0

12:11pm Wed 3 Sep 14

danieled says...

Westcott8895 wrote:
I have no complaints about the food served at Worcestershire royal hospital, All of the food is of a very high standard and competitively priced.
Every time my partner stayed in hospital when about to give birth, all of our meals have been nice nothing to complain about all of it tasted fine.
They obviously have different standards in the maternity unit, which I believe is outside the main building.
[quote][p][bold]Westcott8895[/bold] wrote: I have no complaints about the food served at Worcestershire royal hospital, All of the food is of a very high standard and competitively priced. Every time my partner stayed in hospital when about to give birth, all of our meals have been nice nothing to complain about all of it tasted fine.[/p][/quote]They obviously have different standards in the maternity unit, which I believe is outside the main building. danieled
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Thu 4 Sep 14

imustbeoldiwearacap says...

Perhaps they could use the profits from parking charges to subsidise better food - OOPS - forgot it cost £1.8million to maintain the car parking service - which gives us an idea how incompetent the financial managers of WHCNHST are!
Perhaps they could use the profits from parking charges to subsidise better food - OOPS - forgot it cost £1.8million to maintain the car parking service - which gives us an idea how incompetent the financial managers of WHCNHST are! imustbeoldiwearacap
  • Score: 0
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