Ipswich: UNISON calls for the return of hospital kitchens providing food on-site

Ipswich Hospital in Heath Road

Ipswich Hospital in Heath Road

A DRIVE to promote healthy eating at Ipswich Hospital would not rule out a bigger on-site kitchen to prepare and cook food for patients in the future.

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, has joined forces with the Campaign for Better Hospital Food to call on the Government to focus on the health, social and economic benefits of providing on the spot, freshly cooked, locally sourced quality food for patients recovering in hospitals.

Research carried out by the union shows that four in 10 hospitals in England do not use an on-site kitchen to prepare and cook food for patients.

Of the 143 hospitals in the east of England, 69 (48%) do not use their own kitchen.

Instead they buy meals which are delivered to them from outside the hospital.

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At Ipswich Hospital, catering contractors ISS, do employ on-site chefs to cook food for patients with dietary requirements as well as food required outside of normal meal times.

But the bulk of the food fed to patients and staff is prepared off site, at Anglia Crown in Colchester, with an emphasis on using locally-sourced produce.

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Jan Ingle, hospital spokeswoman, said: “As a trust board they have been working with ISS to produce a range of more healthy options wherever possible for staff and patients.

“Within the contract we have with ISS it says we would prefer it if they source food locally.

“We do have hospital chefs and catering staff, employed by ISS, they make any special dietary requirements, including Halal food.

“They are also on hand if people need feeding at different times of the day.

“The majority of the food is produced locally and brought into the hospital from Anglia Crown.

“I think as a hospital we are always very concerned that the standard of food is high, in the interests of patients.

“But a balance does have to be struck with getting the best value for every NHS pound to benefit patients.

“A fully operational on-site kitchen is always an option for the future.”

Tracey Lambert, UNISON eastern regional head of health, said: “These statistics make sad reading for patients across the east of England.

“Ensuring more hospitals use their own kitchens to cook patient meals would be good for the patient, good for NHS staff and good for creating much needed jobs.”

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