"Appalling hospital food."

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a relative),

My wife has been admitted to Box Hill Hospital twice in the last few weeks and was appalled at the standard of food that was served to the patients. A large number of the meals were uneatable. Soup that had more salt than a bowl of sea water, peas on many occasions had not been re-hydrated and were hard and raw, mashed potato that was cold and consistency of putty. It was a disgrace and let down the excellent care from the doctors and nurses which were great. I think Management should eat from the hospital kitchen.  With today's standards of foods in restaurants where they serve 100's of quality meals per night one would expect better from a hospital.

Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Appalling

First of all, please let me say how sorry I am to read about your experience of our food at Box Hill Hospital. I know just how important it is for us to get the food right and clearly, we have not done this at all successfully on the occasions that your wife has been a patient with us. However, I am pleased to report that we have made many recent improvements to the food including quantity, presentation and quality and we have also received great feedback including some patients rating our food 10/10. I know though, that we need to get this right for every patient, every time and I can see that we have room to improve. I really am very sorry.

Please be reassured that I will pass on your feedback and I will inquire into the frequency of our audits which are usually undertaken on a regular basis. I should also add that management does indeed eat the food prepared in the kitchen and we have a number of staff who test and taste the food on a regular basis. I have also eaten meals myself as part of an executive tasting session but the truth is that we have to get it right, every time and whilst my meal was excellent, that was not your wife's experience.

Anyway, we will take your feedback on board and I will discuss this with the Executive Director responsible (Karen Fox) at my next meeting with her.

In the meantime, thanks again for sharing your story.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Appalling

Following-up on my last meeting with Karen Fox, we have indeed taken on board your feedback and this has also been discussed with the food services provider.

What we do know is that 73% of patients rate the food at Eastern Health as enjoyable all of the time or most of the time and that this has been consistently improving for 2 years. Of course, we want to get to 100%.

As part of our food improvement project, we run a ‘kitchen immersion hour’ program which means that many managers and nursing staff go behind the scenes in the kitchen to get a better idea of the way it all works and they taste the food which is on the menu that day while they are there. More than 70 staff did this in April and May this year.

Karen also confirmed that she often does ‘spot taste tests’ herself and she provides feedback to the local kitchen teams too. So, thanks again for sharing your story and as I hope you can see, we're focusing on getting better based on feedback. Thank you.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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Updates, changes and questions related to this story

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