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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003

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Caithness General Hospital Catering Praised In National Report

A National Report by Audit Scotland,  ‘Catering for Patients’ has today published key results of a survey taken in Scottish Hospitals.

The survey reported that 100% at Caithness General Hospital, Wick and 100%  at New Craigs and 98% of patients at Raigmore Hospital,  were either satisfied or very satisfied with the meals they received in these hospitals.

Crawford Howat, Catering and Accommodation Manager at Raigmore was pleased with the report and said:  "I am delighted to see the positive results from this report, which is entirely due to the hard work and dedication put in by key health care workers in the Catering Services across Highland.  We are constantly striving to improve on standards of catering and it is very heartening that this has been reflected in the obvious satisfaction of the majority of our patients.  There are all sorts of new initiatives taking place in Highland.  For instance, we are presently working on new menus, such as a small appetite menu which has been developed to help people in hospital who cannot face huge meals, but need tasty food or dietary supplements to help build them up and aid their speedy recovery.  

All wards have their own copies of diet folders and guidance on what type of food patients can eat plus there is a full dietetic service on site.  

Another aspect I was pleased to note in the report,  is that only 6% of food is wasted here, compared to the national target of 10%.    All in all, myself and my team are happy with the outcome of this audit .’

Caithness General in Wick was also specifically cited as having particularly good practice.  Patients admitted to Caithness General Hospital after the patient meals have been ordered from the kitchen are supplied with a "late admission tray".  This tray consists of soup, sandwich and yoghurt.  This out of hours service ensures that all patients receive a nutritionally sound meal.  Additionally an emergency pack, consisting of tinned meat, long life yoghurt etc. is kept in each ward, so that patients can have a nutritional snack when the kitchen is closed.  This allows provision of foodstuffs over the 24 hour period in line with the Better Hospitals Food Programme.

Ward and catering staff at Caithness General Hospital operate a straightforward but effective system that keeps catering staff as up to date as possible with the number of meals required for the day.  A white board on each ward details all planned admissions and discharges for the day.  Nursing staff note on the board the actual times of each admission or discharge and the time at which the kitchen were informed.  This aids communication between the wards and catering department and reduces the amount of unserved meals at ward level.

Cath Melville, Head of Hotel Services for the Primary Care Trust agreed with Crawford and noted that the high standards demonstrated within the catering service which is integral to patient care was all down to the sheer hard work and team commitment of the catering staff in both Highland Primary Care and Acute Trusts.  To be mentioned twice in the National report with examples of good practice is particularly heartening.