Thursday, 17 September 2009

Play Hospital Food Bingo again


  1. They sure like the tiny green droppings in your place.


  2. Isn't the NHS wonderful. Free treatment, free food - and they must be undertaking your toileting free too!!
    Rejoice that you are in the UK - not facing penury in the US of A, where over 40 million people do not have health insurance - Stop whining

  3. OMG not even hospital food in Oz looks as bad as this stuff! Someone get this man a cheeseburger even with all the preservatives in it it looks a heck of a lot more edible!

  4. I've paid all my working life for the NHS. It's not free... it's free at the point of delivery.

  5. Anonymous-13:51 isn't that like saying to a blind man to be grateful he has a white stick?

    The guy is flat on his back eating hospital crap, allow him to retain his sense of humour at least, if not his tastebuds.

  6. Looks like food. Not cordon bleu, but with a good proportion of protein, vegetables and fibre. Probably better than the medical care you'd get in the River Cafe. The NHS provides medical support, the food is merely there to maintain life.

    It's annoying to be in hospital isn't it? I understand why you might try to alleviate the boredom by dissing the system, but you're helping NHS dissenters dismantle it for those who come after you.

    Get your friends to bring you something nice, be glad that you're able to eat.

    Variola - moaning matters, it destroys confidence and resources.

    Katie (can't use name as poster as it wants URL and I don't have one)

  7. The doctors and nurses do so much to help us get better and their work is undermined by a private contractor trying to make as much money as possible. I'm entitled to criticise that. I owe my life to the NHS so if anyone wants to accuse me of dissing it in any way but a lighthearted bit of comedy, they will get a good kicking. Once I'm able to kick!

  8. While your at it, won't you critisize the South African government too. You have to take your own food with you or have someone deliver food to you in the state run hospitals.

    Atleast you get food, even if it is crap. Here you starve to death before they can actually cure your ailments.

  9. It looks like 2 willies on a plate!!!!!

  10. Anon-2.15pm
    Moaning matters? Is that the same as what you are doing here, moaning at what someone has to say?

    Do you not realise the difference between whining and satire? I am guessing not.

    This is not a political blog to compare health care states, neither is it a speaker's corner where everyone should stand and be lectured about how well off they are. Humble pie is not part of the NHS menu.

    Anon-here elderly patients do starve to death in hospital because the refuse to eat what is served up to them, and no one checks up on them. They didn't have a computer and internet access with which to tell the world.
    You have the luxury of net access, stop whining and write your own blog about the inadequacies of health care in your own country.

  11. They do seem to be giving you rather alot of peas. Is this some kind of cure for your ailment?

    - N Blackwell of Glasgow

  12. I tend to choose peas... only because the alternative is swede and you wouldn't want to tarmac a drive with that stuff.

  13. Wow, most of this looks disgusting but at least you're getting some in Canada (at least the hospital I stayed in) they had a 5 day rotation of the meals - not even fun to guess at after a lowly 2 weeks!

    Keep up the giggles - they bring joy to more than just one!

  14. And also peas are easier to flick at people than swede....

    P.S you should hold a competition for the most bizarre security word required when you post... I've just got whanial..!

  15. Please keep the blogs going, ignore all the critics as they seem to be having humour failure.
    I wonder how they would be reacting if they were in your (shoes) bed so to speak.
    Do you think the hospital will allow food parcels.

  16. I think a meat guessing contest is in order!

  17. The ward staff are great about that sort of thing but after so many weeks of this stuff I really have lost my appetite for anything.

  18. Trish... there has to be meat in order for you to guess what animal it came from.

  19. Dear Traction Man i've decided to take on your challenge of "hospitalfood bingo"

    I've named the top row (l to r) A and so on
    and the rows from top to bottom row 1 an so on

    Just to explain what poffertjes are (they feature my answers a couple of times) =)
    Poffertjes are a sort of coin sized pancakes enjoyed mostly in the Netherlands. But with a special pan and any old pancake batter, you can enjoy them anywhere around the world

    But anyway here are my answers:

    A1 - Diced Potatoes in creamsauce with
    a chunk of tomato beans and carrot.
    A2 - The cooks cut off fingers with beans
    & instant mash powder.
    A3 - Pasta in creamsauce with peas
    A4 - Corn, potato parts & wallpaper paste
    A5 - Peas and Sick
    A6 - 1/2 tomato, a orange fuzzy golfbal
    a potato with a hole in it filled
    with colored water and ..??
    A7 - Carrots, part of the top of a shepard pie
    and somethingh vaguely resembling potato
    B1 - Fries, carrots and ..???
    B2 - Rice with a angry looking alien on top
    B3 - Peas, rice and chicken in battery acid
    B4 - Peas and slop
    B5 - Diarrhoea ='( with rice
    B6 - Aha chicken bones and the slaughtered
    B7 - :Diarrhoea again and carrots & beans
    C1 - Fish, chips and Spinach..??
    C2 - Fish, chips and carrot
    C3 - Fungus that has gone watery
    C4 - Peas potato & more potato
    C5 - Again fisch, chips and spinach
    C6 - Chunks, POFFERTJES & goulash
    C7 - Snot and mash
    D1 - Sick, carrot and instant mash powder
    D2 - Omelet and Potato cubes
    D3 - Colored snot with colored chunks
    D4 - See C6
    D5 - Beans, pasta and ..??
    D6 - White snot, green snot and yellow snot
    topped with 2 slices of carrot
    D7 - Snot with mash
    E1 - Carrot, peas and sick
    E2 - Spinach, fish and chips
    E3 - carrot potato and baked egg..?
    E4 - Meat in brown sauce, potato and peas
    E5 - 1 cold undercooked potato
    1 slice of "ham" served with yet again
    E6 - Omelet with 4 mini deviled eggs.
    E7 - Goulash with rice

    after studying the photos i've come to the conclusing that they are trying to poison you

    But on a more serious note i read about your blog in the dutch newspaper and decided to take a look for myself.
    Your blog made me cry with laughter (now my collegues really think i'm nuts) while reading it during my lunchbreak.

    I really hope your recovery will go a bit quicker ..!!

    and keep on blogging..



  20. Some tips from a previous long-term visitor to an NHS hospital a long way from home.
    1. Don't sleep during the day cos if you do then you certainly won't sleep during the night.
    2. Get some ear plugs and those shades they give you on airplanes.
    3. You have a 'phone, you have a credit card (I hope), well use them. Every town in Britain has a sandwich bar so call them up and get them to deliver. If that doesn't work, ask someone who is mobile to walk down to the shop/friends snack bar in the hospital and buy you a sandwich and drink.
    4. Red wine - claim a drop of it calms your nerves, reduces your blood pressure, helps you sleep or mends your bones and ask the ward boss if you can have some brought in to drink. Most liklely he/she will say yes to shut you up so use that phone & credit card or ask a friend to bring some in for you. But don't get roaring drunk 'cos then you will lose the privilege. This ploy is also known to work with Guinness sometimes.
    5. Vegetarian menu - go for it, the raw materials are cheaper so you probably get better quality then improve it with flavour enhancers such as pickles, chutneys, chili sauces(a small bottle of Tabasco or Worcester sauce does wonders - at least the food tastes of something). Same with sandwiches, normally they are two slices of bread with cheese or ham between them so enhance them with pickle, Marmite or chutney.

    You might have worked out the above for yourself by now so my apologies if you have and find it patronising but after major trauma you can get a bit slow over working things out.

    Poetic justice - while I was in hospital, the catering manager for the hospital came in for an elective surgical procedure that required staying a couple of nights on the ward and he ate the same food as us and it didn't get any better while he was there but told us how much was spent per person per day on food and it was not a lot.

  21. HAHAHA I can't stop laughing at the previous comment, Kudos to you fellow commentor that was great! C7 seems extremely accurate!

    Traction man, oh how I would love to bring you a nice juicy steak meal....too bad I live in the US (Dallas Texas) or I certainly would!

  22. Ok...I've got to ask... bottom row, 3rd in from the right, what is that pink blob of stuff next to the potato? It's the one thing I really have no idea about...

    (Macalu that time!)

  23. Thanks for the tips. Really good ones there. I've already done a few but I like the sound of the red wine but I think they won't mix with Tramadol and Diazepam so I'd better not risk it.

  24. You are lucky!

    I recently had to spend 4 days in a hospital in Romania, having experienced an acute heart attack.

    Whereas I have nothing but good to say about the treatment I had for the actual heart attack (apart from the part where I sat waiting in an empty Emergency waiting room for 20 minutes despite being a 49 year old male complaining of chest-pains, and there being nobody else around, and as luck was I was spotted by a doctor who knows me), the subsequent stay was a complete farce.

    So I am in intensive care in the specialised heart unit. Breakfast arrives, consisting of 1 hard boiled egg, a clump of margarine and a loaf of bread (I was told not to overdo it on the bread as it had to last the day). OK, so what is wrong with that?

    Well, first and foremost, the vast majority of patients in a specialised heart unit will have a chelosterol issue. And of course eggs is one of the things you need to stay away from in terms of cholesterol. OK, cool, have some bread with margarine (yummie), well easily done if you have cuttlery!!!

    So, I ate the egg, gave up on the rest and asked my family to bring me some cuttlery when they came visitng next (and some loo roll, and some kitchen towel, and some towels in general, none of which was actually supplied).

    Lunch was a small piece of chicken, which was mainly fatty skin. Look up fried chicken skin in the "cholesterol bible" guys, nearly as good as egg........

    Dinner was an unidentified piece of meat in a greasy gravy with (s)mashed potates. Look up greasy gravy as above.

    Despite now having cuttlery, I didn't eat any of it.

    Next morening, apart from the clump of margerine and the bread, a piece of salty cheese. Try looking that up in terms of cholesterol. I have a picture of that should anyone be interested.

    That's when I resigned to the fact that food needed to be brought in from outside, smuggled past the guards and gulped down in secret.

    Good thing is I still had my mobile phone. I quickly realised that the place to hide it was in the food, as the guard dogs come nowhere near it!!!

    I actually paid for my stay at the hospital (different story), and the only good part is that since I had refused the food, the total food bill for 4 days came to 21 Romanian Lei, approximately 5 Euros.

    Oh, and I had some idetary advice for free on leaving, it went like this: "your cholesterol levels are 50% higher that they should be. Don't eat port or salt".

    Jens (survivor)

  25. The pink blob was supposed to be a bacon chop. Shudder!!!!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Ahh so it was bacon, I did debate gammon but though it looked too diseased for that.

    Security word was Grusli-one of the meals above I think!)

  28. That purple blob was BACON?!?!? What the hell do you have to do with that long-suffering pig to make the end-product look like something that oozed its way out of the back of an illegal toxic waste dump.

  29. I had a similar experience with the hospital food here in germany - thanks to the free wireless of a mcdonalds across the road I was able to order in pizza and burgers ;-)

  30. This is hilarious (yet sad) and from my experience with Canadian hospital food, unfortunately the norm. Maybe you could play another game to pass your time... get someone to bring you an old (but clean) shower curtain, tack it to your wall and leave a little on the floor to catch anything that may fall... you could then launch the offending food onto the curtain and take bets for how long it will stick there. Person who guesses closest, gets to eat it and bring you a burger!

    Laughter is the best medicine, so keep laughing and get well soon.

  31. Get well SOON and good luck until then,
    all the best from Germany (where some BK deliver their Burgers n Fries by call and "kitchen" is a slang word for jail). Besides, Jamie Oliver improved school lunch, why not having a look at hospital "food"?

  32. Tramadol and Diazepam - shit, I hate to tell you this but the "Gestapo" are on to you already. Just watch out for "Nurse" Elle Driver aka California Mountain Snake!

    BTW, join the BNF. No, not that one or even this one, but this one. Then you'll know what shit they are pumping you full of.

  33. Nice to see that members of the Empire, including some of those rebels from the colonies appreciate your prose. I think the world needs to know the name of your meals provider. I'm guessing it is a local organic farming cooperative, who hand deliver the ingredients to willing hands in a Victorian style kitchen, where ruddy faced wenches with chubby fingers, lovingly throw another carrot into the copper cooking pot.

  34. I've spent much of the last 18 months in and out of hospital being treated for cancer. You have my complete sympathy. I believe I've alluded to the awfulness of hospital food in my own blog

    I love my food and the worst part of my whole hospital experience has to be the catering. Like you, I cannot really fault my medical care but the domestic stuff??

    After my first stay for chemo I never ate another hospital-provided meal. My wife either brought me food from home or she went and got me a takeaway.

    How on earth people are supposed to get well, nay, thrive on the slop tat is provided I have no idea. I have no qualms about naming and shaming the Trust concerned: the Oxford Radcliffe group of hospitals. I've spent time in three of them and the only meal I describe as "good" would be the breakfast I had on my last day in hospital after having my primary tumour removed. And that was only because the staff were kind enough to suggest I have a full English, which they ordered themselves from the canteen and went to collect for me.

    The lowlight of the hospital fayre? Beefburgers in gravy. Gravy. Who the hell thought that up?

  35. Geez, dude, I hope you like peas and carrots. Yick.

  36. Gosh, now I know where all the peas go!!

  37. Well done for highlighting this crucial issue, it was covered on Radio 4 today.

    Luckily I've managed to avoid hospital stays but saw the quality of the food served in the NHS when my mother was hospitalised last year. Quite frankly it was disgusting and an insult to those who pay to fund the system. We're not a 3rd world country (yet) so such comparisons are meaningless.

    I doubt all the Ministers defending this slop would be happy to eat it and nothing else for a whole week. In fact I'm certain they wouldn't.

    I'd love to know what the budget for food is per head per day - I imagine it's pennies.

    Hope you get well (fed) soon

    Best wishes

    PS the menu seems to imagine we're still in the fifties, where's the curry, the rice etc etc. If they served this crap in the Army there'd be real trouble.

  38. I spent 3 days in a spanish hospital recently and believe me, you are complaining about the NHS food, you would be screaming about theirs! Basic, tasteless and like something a poor student who doesnt know how to cook would make.
    I was in an NHS hospital last year for 8 days and I was shocked at the HUGE menu they provided with such variety..I was pleasantly surprised and it was edible along with having anything from the fridge AT ANY TIME..In India, YOU DO NOT GET NO FOOD FROM THE HOSPITAL.

    I suggest you STOP moaning you..we in the UK are BLESSED with the BEST treatment and care IN THE WORLD ALL FOR FREE! Where in the rest of the world do you get that? I tell you NOWHERE..NOW SHUTUP AND EAT YOUR FOOD YOU TWAT OR GET OFF UR ASS AND BUY YOUR OWN FROM THE SHOPS OUTSIDE

  39. Thank you for keeping this blog - it's really readable and raises the profile of one of my bugbears.

    Good nutrition is an essential part of good health and yet in hospital the food is really poor. For some of us who are in hospital for only a week it's not such a problem, but for someone who is in hospital for weeks and this is their only source of nutrition then this must be detrimental to their recovery.

    I hope your situation improves and you recover well. Do keep writing.

    Best regards, fuzzylon.

  40. Hey at least they mashed some of your food, a private ward of an NHS hospital in London gave me large chunks of carrot, potato and chicken after I'd had an operation which temporarily severely narrowed the entrance to my stomach, if I'd been stupid enough to swallow anything it would have got stuck, heck even yoghurt (smuggled in later) got stuck!?!

  41. To the person who suggested I get off my ass (donkey)... Can't you read? I'm in traction. I haven't complained about my care. I started this as some fun so next time you find yourself in hospital... Ask them to give you a sense of humour transplant. Now crawl back under your stone.

  42. In all fairness, I enjoyed a weeks stay in a hospital in California (pre-Govenator) in 2003. The food wasn't much better there, and I (well my insurance company) was paying a heafty sum. My wife had to go down to the "restaurant" to bring some proper food to aid my recovery, or go to the on-site Starbucks for a decent drink. I was allocated a room which I had to myself (because I was an unclean foreigner I think !!), but they kept trying to put people in the empty bed next to me - an old lady with alzheimers, a person with mental problems who the admitted would have probably killed me in my sleep had they left me alone with him !! But I did get visited by the doctors and consultants on a regular basis - well according to their time-stamped bills I did !!!

  43. Feels quite rude to write an anonymous comment, but I am far too much of a technological Neanderthal to have any idea what any of the other stuff listed means...

    Felt compelled to write that your blog is hilarious! Although quite horrifying at the same time. I hope despite the NHS's none too subtle attempts at poisoning you get better soon.


  44. And by the way... it isn't free! We pay taxes and national insurance for this. Engage brain before putting mouth into gear.

  45. I've spent pretty much the last month inside - posting from the ward now. This last stay I just couldn't face the food anymore so I'm getting my angel of a fiance to bring food in for me every day. Thankfully Kings College Hospital catering doesn't appear to be *quite* as bad as yours but the sheer monotony of the same choices, over and over and over again, with the mushy and limited palate is as soul crushing as the medical treatment. And the potatoes - dear christ, who eats bland, overcooked potatoes twice a day, every day?? I started craving actual food with taste and texture so much it was keeping me awake at nights...

  46. Shouting nonsense at invalids on their blog site is more then a little bit rude.

    Is it really unreasonable for a tax paying UK citizen to be a bit perplexed when faced with the selection of delightful dishes shown on the bingo board?

  47. My heart goes out to you. I spent 4 years working on a maternity ward and was asked at least once a day "do you know what this is?" accompanied by patient pointing at sludgy brown cold thing on plate. It was almost always 'meat' pie. Meat? What kind of meat?? We used to make emergency toast for people and give them biscuits on the sly :-(

  48. "Traction man", believe it or not, your "hospital food bingo" has made it onto a forum post... interestingly, contrary to a few comments I've read above, none of us doctors seem to think you're attacking the NHS!

    My partners grandfather was recently in hospital and he oddly rather enjoyed the food... this may give an indication of the quality of my partners grandmothers cooking, which seems to involve as much salt per meal as the annual UK budget allows for salting motorways.

    Of note, someone mentioned getting alcohol above - you can ask a doctor to prescribe you beer and then people can bring it in for you. But don't tell the alcoholics that... that would cause a few tricky discussions for the junior doctors on your ward.

    Dr Dave

  49. My friend, most hospital restaurants have subsidised meals for staff who have to pay to eat this!
    For visitors it costs more.
    You have online access, order a take away, most of the staff- especially night staff- will join you and if you let the main desk know they'll help with delivery- but may nick your chips.
    As a nurse in bonny Bradford I know this to be true!

  50. Thank you, Dr Dave. I adore my doctors and nurses. I have experienced so much love and kindness this year and without their care and professionalism I would be dead... fact! I'm not sorry about having a go at the caterers and some of the other stuff is only meant to be a bit of lighthearted fun.

  51. As a reasonable counter-balance, I have to say that the last time I had an extended stay in hospital the food - as everything else - was heavenly.

    An extensive menu for all meals. Fresh, high-quality ingredients, with dishes across a range of British and other cuisines.

    Perfectly cooked according to individual requirements. Well-presented, properly served and all at the right temperature for the dish.

    Timing was flexible. Luncheon might be at 12.30, but if Sir preferred 1.15 then Sir's whim was their command.

    A twenty-four 'helpline' as well, for those snacky moments in between meals. A bacon and brie pannini was never more than a phone call away.

    Oh, and a wine list the envy of many a restaurant at very reasonable prices too.

    Was I dreaming? No, just infinitely grateful that my health insurance paid for a necessary spell at The London Clinic.

  52. I believe Trellick hospital in Cornwall has fantastic food. It can be done.

  53. I wonder how much the private caterers charge, per patient to provide food? I may have a hunt around for some figures...
    It occurred to me, why is the food so bad? And say that with a practical slant. I am not the greatest cook, I know that, but even I manage to get at least one thing on the plate that tastes good, even if the other 2 or 3 things are a little 'lacking'. But to do what these guys do, continually churn out appalling food day after day must take effort surely? I don't believe the excuse of cooking for so many people is a feasible one either, the kitchens are usually well equipped and staffed. Nutritional content is important I know, but that does not excuse meals like that.

  54. Oh dear
    I am due to go into NHS hospital soon and will also be bed-bound.
    I don't like peas, carrots or instant mashed potato.
    Am a big supporter of the NHS but will begin planning emergency food campaign immediately.

  55. Fantastic blog - I'm sorry to read your food hell but I'm almost looking forward to the wife's dinner tonight :)

  56. QUOTE "Isn't the NHS wonderful. Free treatment, free food - and they must be undertaking your toileting free too!!
    Rejoice that you are in the UK - not facing penury in the US of A, where over 40 million people do not have health insurance - Stop whining".

    Jeesh what a nobcheese you are! The NHS is NOT, i repeat NOT free. It is paid for by UK workers taken directly from earnings before our earnings reach our banks. It is only free for the leechmonkeys that invade our country searching for a free ride.

  57. Try being in hospital when you're lactose intolerant, but because you haven't seen the hospital's own dietician about it ('cos I've known about not having milk stuff for the last 34 years) you don't get a special diet. Not only do you have to play "guess the meal", but also figure out "is this going to play havoc with my digestion too?". Sort of Hospital Food Bingo crossed with gut-busting Russian Roulette.

  58. soz 4 da anonymous thing but cant b bothered 2 do anythin else

    just had 2 say that ur blog ROCKS!!!! i was killing myself laughing!

    i also have soooo much sympathy 4 u, but i can empathize, my school food is probably prepared by the same company!!!!

    get well soon!


  59. Perhaps private catering is the public's bane, as has proven private cleaning.

    But it can't just be the profit motive that results in unattractive slop being prepared by supposedly competent cooks then served by seemingly caring nurses.

    Where's the pride? Where's the passion for a job well done? Where's the concern for patients as people?

    Where, above all, is Matron? When she ruled the roost the food may have been Victorian gruel, but you can bet it was the best Victorian gruel in the land.

    BTW - is the time coming for the investigative journalist to give way to the campaigning journalist? How about dashing a plate of mush to the floor and demanding to see the Chief Executive? Or organising a mass hunger-strike? Give Jamie Oliver a ring.

    That'll really make you popular! ;)

  60. This food looks great in comparison to what I was given in hospital in Hamburg last year. To be fair I cannot eat gluten so that challenged the staff. My dietary needs were ignored for the first few days and then things got really bad after a nice nurse insisted someone deliver gluten-free food. It was disgusting - looked ad smelled of vomit and tasted lousy. All they could give me every day was diced carrot and potato in a gelatinous sauce. Honking!

  61. My husband was in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich a couple of months ago after almost dying of respiratory failure.

    I have to say the food served to you (and in these photos) would have been a welcome sight compared to the inedible, unappetizing... I can't bring myself to describe it as food he was served during his stay.

    Myself and his elderly mother had to bring food in for him as the 'food' he was being served was actually making him ill.

    He lost over a stone in just a week.

    I was absolutely disgusted by what he was served, extremely angry and moved to tears several times seeing him try to eat what only can be described as food that isn't even fit for pigs!

    Not a mile away in Belmarsh High Security Prison though it's a whole different matter! Obviously people who are a benefit to society and pay their taxes like good, honest citizens don't deserve to be looked after properly nor fed meals that aside from being nutritious would actually be edible AT ALL!

    We were told by nurses the even the prisoners complain about the food when they are brought in... can you believe that?!

    Disgusting... I contacted Jamie Oliver but he is too busy with 'other commitments' but SOMETHING needs to be done.

    Warm, limp salads that have been left on top of warming cabinets for hours??? Come on for gods sake!

  62. When my father was in hospital for an extended stay he loved the food. Specifically he loved the discovery that if you ticked all the boxes that was what you got. My mother was less than impressed.

  63. oh this is brilliant to read and has cheered me up no end, after a really horrible day.

    I have had 3 stints in hospital over the last 3 years, one NHS and 2 private. Private wasn't quite as hit and miss on the food as the NHS, but it wasn't great at times. The longest was in an NHS hospital and was stuck in bed for a few days.

    The nurses were brilliant though I had emergancy toast for most meals coupled with what i poked and prodded then deciding what was edible. Peas were the best, potatoes the worst. Refused meat, as I do on planes. Food is always better that way.

    And your blog will certainly help with the dreaded tedium that comes with lying/sitting welded to a hospital bed. At least the mattress are comfortable, though you might well debate this after such a time.


  64. I found your blog via the BBC and it really made me smile! My friend has to have gluten free food, her hospital (also in the South West) has gluten free sweet and sour sauce but the meat isn't, so they served her over cooked sweet and sour brussle sprouts- nothing else, just that! She also took a picture as she thought no one would believe her!

  65. I spent a few days in hospital last year. By the second day I was genuinely hungry. But the meal brought to me looked a bit strange - a sort of Christmas dinner, with slices of unidentifiable greyish meat, a ball of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a green sludge which I think was spinach.Despite its appearance I decided to give it a go. Oh dear, it was awful beyond description. The meat smelled bad or even off, the stuffing ball gave me raging heartburn, and the potatoes and veg were floating in beige-coloured water.There must be a huge wastage in the NHS, on uneaten meals,costing God knows how much money, because my meal went in the bin, and I can't surely be alone in being unale to eat it........

  66. I forgot to mention, the hospital I was in is Kingsmill, Mansfield, Notts. Brilliant staff, clean, modern surroundings, lovely friendly nurses, wonderful treatment, no complaints at all....but take your own food, or risk adding belly ache and the squits to whatever your medical problem is...........

  67. I can help you out here, and obviously we have some work to do... I'm the consultant chef for Middlesbrough and Zetland PCT and I think some of these recipes are from my training manuals. I find these comments a little upsetting, especially as you can see from the below the efforts we have made:

    A1: Borlotti crema nicoise
    A2: Toulouse sausage with haricot verts, cold parship sorbet, tomota and coriander jus
    A3: Fresh fish pasta with cappucine capers
    A4: Hominy and grits southern syle
    A5: Twice baked mint and feta frittata with trademark peas
    A6: Mostarda di Cremona
    A7: "Man in the moon" with sweet potato pie
    B1: Gratin dauphinoise (needs to be served hot)
    B2: Moroccan curry with zatar and snow rice
    B3: Tangarine dream and trademark peas (my mothers recipe)
    B4: Chicken and peas (are you celiac? - you may be giving away more than you want)
    B5: Jugged hare with giant couscous
    B6: Paella and salad (new)
    B7: This is not one of ours - have you ordered out?
    C1: Pollack in batter
    C2: Pollack a al rastafari
    C3: amaretto coffee with pure cocoa (private wing)
    C4: This is an "amuse bouche" - celery and lemon posset
    C5: Previous pollack (did you ask us to keep it warm?)
    C6: No, sorry. Wait. No
    C7: Three cheese lasagne with salad grecque
    D1: Steak tartare
    D2: Supersize clams st jaques
    D3: Meringue with mini allsorts
    D4: No, still, sorry
    D5: Our famouse bullfighter's macaron
    D6: Superb. Dover sole, classic.
    D7: Oh dear. They left out the eyes
    E1: Cream puff, carrots and peas. You really shouldn't knock it until you've tried
    E2: Galette with any filling you choose ("a choix")
    E3: Parsnip chips, not sure about the rest. It's a solo dish. Who mashed the peas?
    E4: beef tornados, squished celeriac. Peas back on track
    E5: Strawberry, vanilla, peas - that's on the backburner now
    E6: 8 egg tortilla, four on the side, New York style I'm told.
    E7: Prune lapin, hold the rabbit.

    really hope that helps your enjoyment of what I think you will agree is quite an adventure for the tongue.


  68. That food does not look appealing at all, but maybe Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall touch would do the trick :)

    Why not to meet the chef.

    Hopefully in time when I need the hospital treatment food will improve. Doing a good job, well done. Keep talking.

  69. hilarious blog! I was in hospital a few years back after tonsillitis developed into quinsy and I they wouldn't discharge me until I ate something - they brought me a chicken roast dinner - the chicken breast was frozen solid on the inside!

    Get well soon x


  70. Damn funny as your blog is, you've also managed to bring a good deal of public attention to bear on this (sadly enduring) issue. Bravo - and keep on telling it like it is!

    All the best.


  71. A man after my own heart!

    yes, it looks like food, vaguely smells like food (occasionally) but tastes like shit!

    Now, fellow followers, click the paypal clicky thing and donate a measly quid, then the man can order a pizza to be delivered. simples!

  72. the same in german hospitals and some universities

  73. I live in Crete, my husband had to go to hospital here for 5 days as his chest was bad. Here you have to pay for treatment, X-rays, medications, Doctors examinations, injections, in fact everything, his stay cost us nearly a thousand pounds.

    The food was disgusting, one meal he had there was a macaroni cheese looking thing with 3 lumps of lamb in it, another was biscuits and feta cheese and an apple.

    I immediately went to the supermarket next door and loaded up on good healthy food he could snack on, and every day I went to the snack bar in the hospital for a large roll with salad and decent coffee.

    This experience cost a small fortune, the rolls in the hospital were 7 euro`s each.... seven quid almost for a roll ..!!! Coffee was 4 euro`s a small wax cup... Four quid almost for a coffee ..!!!

    The hospital was the filthyest I have ever seen. The staff were smoking out side the wards, cotton swaps covered in blood strewn on floors, toilets that were filthy and smelly. You would swear the floor was moving in the ward as it was covered in ants, also all over the beds and lockers.

    This was a private hospital, we had no idea there were state hospitals in our area as we don`t speak Greek. Apparently in non private hospitals relatives supply the meals, if they do not then the patient starves as no meals are cooked in the hospitals and they are not fit for pig`s to stay in.

    Anyone who comments that the NHS is free are deluded, my husband has been in work all his life , he is 74 now and he has paid national insurance and tax all his life to get treatment in the UK, unfortunately he needed treatment in Greece, we have to pay for all our medications here every month , which is expensive, but it is our choice to reside here.

    Poor Traction man has no choice in his situation and predicament, and I envy him his courage to do a blog on the current situation in the NHS which is serious.

    Way to go Traction Man.... I hope you find fame and fortune in this venture . You are one hell of a man bringing to attention that there is a big problem in the NHS hospitals that has a long time been ignored by the government, yes them elitist toerags that have just been reported as being 140,000 in debt for elaborate meals.


  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

  75. I went to a meeting and conciliation just a few weeks ago and the main point that was being made was how good the NHS is. I pointed out how bad it was with just two comments made by me? Why has the NHS in Cardiff put aside half a billion pounds to cover litigation and why do they employ so many agency staff to cover the hospitals. I was told that the hospitals are run in a very professional manner and I replayed if BUPA was run in the same vane it would be closed down with in days. I personally have been very lucky in my hospital stays, my friend and partner has always brought me my meals in to me, and the staff have always commented can your friend bring me some in too, Just a word of comfort the staff canteen in the Heath hospital is just as bad.

  76. Wow, there are quite a few MONGS with no sense of humour around aren't there?

    Hope your meals improve soon! But then again, if they don't, it's more fun for us avid readers, heh heh (sorry!).

    Keep your chin up and your food down :)

  77. You can see similar on city pavements on a Sat morning, some even more colourful

  78. Its been said before, but clearlymust be repeated....

    TractionMan is engaging in a form of humour called IRONY. If you dont 'get it' then dont read it!
    If you do, then you, like me, are probably getting a lot of giggles out of it and have your entire office pretending to be Meercats peering over the cubicle walls trying to figure out what's so funny!

    Keep it up TractionMan. They say that laughter is the best medicine so you are helping many others to be healed!

  79. You're a brave man to go public while you are still relatively helpless. I hope you don't become a victim of Nurse Revenge or Dr Vengeance.

  80. Visited my father in hos - he said "would you like my fish?" - my answer btw it is chicken. Also saw a diabetic in hos - the doctors and nurses had a lot of work fixing up the damage done by the diet (no diabetic menu). Question have they ever cleaned under your bed? In my 4 weeks I never saw mine done!

  81. haha i bet you're white. it seems like white people are the most finnicky when it comes to the presentation of their food. if it look gross, then it probably is. losers.

  82. I started out black but I've been stuck in this hospital so long I've finally turned white due to the lack of sunlight! Does that make me a loser? Whatever you say.

  83. I am reading this in tears - of both laughter and pain on your behalf! I would LOVE to come into your hospital kitchen and sort this out (as a mum of three I reckon I could now mobilise an army before breakfast - living in Sydney it's probably too hard but the thought is there! When I was in hospital a couple of years ago thankfully my husband brought in my (one) meal a day but even with this help I managed to lose weight.. in my last weeks of pregnancy! Will keep reading and praying for swift recovery!!!!!

  84. Hank you, Claire. You sound like an angel. This blog has taught me something. Aussies sound like the nicest and friendliest people on the planet. Would love to visit when I'm better but am a bit worried about those spiders you have.

  85. Spiders? To be honest haven't seen a single poisonous one ever since I moved to Sydney 3 years ago.

    Come over when you're better! There are plenty of Brits working here already, but we can accomodate a few more ;)

  86. During my several stays in NHS hospitals I always managed to lose weight and gain a vitamin deficiency. Best to get food brought in if possible. Have had 3 stays in a regional hospital now that we live in Western Australia and the reverse was the case! Fresh salads, vegetables and fruits every day, recognisable meat, fish or egg dishes, cakes served with morning and afternoon tea (or coffee), and cheese and crackers with the supper cuppa! Transfer Downunder mate, no need to worry about the buglife, we have very large cans of insect spray to deal with the spiders!

    Keep up the good work with the blog and I hope you get well real soon.

  87. posting as anonymous because I'm also too internet-retarded to do the name thing, but anyway, your blog rocks man.

    Firstly, in defence of this blog, of course Traction Man has every right to scrutinise/criticise any part of the NHS. Why? Because he bloody owns it and pays for it! National public asset, get it?

    Secondly, I offer you a curious tale: I have several times actually witnessed dessert trolleys, loaded with exquisite restaurant standard fancy pastries, lots of whipped cream, artistic toffee, fresh berries and the like, making the rounds in both hospitals in my city, where I've visited patients. Ironically, nobody was well enough to partake, so I have no proof it was real food on there. Still, what a strange sight it was, like seeing a ghost from the Titanic gliding through the wards. Perhaps it's a new kind of therapy, meant to encourage a speedy recovery?

    As for the spiders here in Oz, they are a bit annoying, but if you stir-fry them with plenty of garlic, they're not so bad ;-)

    I do so hope you get better soon!

    Cheers from Canberra, city of big, hairy Huntsman spiders, the breakfast of champions.

  88. Hi Traction Man,

    Hope you are feeling better soon. Thank you for raising such an important topic - people cannot get better if they are not eating well and enjoying what they eat, especially when sometimes it is the only thing they have to look forward to when stuck in bed all day.

    I think with all of the publicity you've got (I'm reading this from the Sunshine Coast Queensland) you could really make a difference and improve the lives of so many people who are unwell.

    The ideal hospital/nursing home/rehab centre/any long term health recovery facility should have its own kitchen garden that patients could help out with if feeling up to it (gardening is proven to be beneficial for your health). This could be as simple as providing some fresh herbs and lettuce to improve the meals.

    The whole penny pinching mentality that has taken over all mass catering is so detrimental to quality and health. It is the sadly the case also for so many large museums/educational facilities/airports/shopping centres etc. etc. I just came back from a school camp with about 100 adults and children who were served 3 meals a day plus luscious morning/afternoon teas. The catering was absolutely fantastic - all vegetarian, totally healthy, absolutely delicious and made with love. It did not cost a lot either - it just takes people who care to be involved.

    I agree with other posters - get someone like Jamie Oliver on to it. It just needs some people who really care and want to make a difference to change it.

    This ( is a scheme that is now being rolled out Australia wide with funding from the government to try to make a difference in the lives of children concerning their relationship with food. An example of what can happen if people really care and want to make a difference.

    Good luck.
    Enjoy the custard!


  89. @ Stan i still think my answers to the hospital food bingo were more accurate ;)

    @Traction Man, if it wasn't for the fact i live in Holland i would have appointed myself as your personal chef. But as the food would be cold by the time i would have gotten it to you, it's not really a option.
    Instead i could make you a survival package if you want. Stuffed with goodies like cookies and chocolat. Oh and ofcourse booze =)

    I love reading your blog not only because it has be laughing so hard it makes me cry, But also because this way the truth about hospital food comes out. You can speak up about it, whilst the old helpless people get stuck having to eat this slop.

    So thank you for that.
    Still wishing you are more speedy recovery



  90. It looks like they masticate for you to aid swallowing.

  91. Hi just spotted your blog, its been posted on a natural parenting forum in Aus I frequent...

    Hope you get better enough for them to boot you out, 2-minute noodles seem better than most of that stuff. Ick, mystery meat.

    Maybe they have less instances of choking if they offer runny, unidentifiable food.

    Good luck mate, I hope you make it out alive, we could use your sense of humour. ;)

  92. This is one of the funniest blogs I have read in a long time! I love the bingo card (will have a go at that later) Unfortunatly, the food problem seems to be widespread, when I was admitted to have my darling baby, the food was inedible (dry cornflakes and stale roll for breakfast, slop for lunch, unidentifiable slop for dinner). What annoyed me more was that requested meals weren't delivered. There were two ladies (one still pregnant, one just given birth) who had requested halal meals and the serving staff just shrugged their shoulders and left when asked where it was. It's not like they were being finicky (which I probably was, but even my dp who is like a human dustbin wouldn't sample the culinary delights on offer) Am looking forward to my next hospital stay. My bag won't be filled with the essentials for giving birth, it will be full of snacks and the local takeaway numbers!


  93. I have been moved to place my first ever blog!

    Some people out there seem to take real offence at your sense of humour....good, really glad that they are so deeply moved by something so serious! God forbid they actually worry about something trivial like the economy, or the situation our troops are in while in Afghanistan.

    Let me just say that you have made my day better, Keep your sense of humour intact, share it too. Why not?

    Your stuff is really amusing with really great pics, they do seem to imply that the hospital has taken recycling a step to far...........

  94. G'day Traction Man,

    First up, it's not necessarily the Aussies who are so friendly but also the Poms who've migrated - primarily because they think that they've made the right choice.

    Anyhow, now since you have decided to come and visit Australia, I've decided to plan a feast for you that will most likely stick you right back in hospital.

    I thought we'd start off with some trout, there's a trout farm just up the road - but I've decided that some Tasmanian scollops would be a better choice.

    The only trouble with that choice is that Thursday is the only day we can guarantee getting scollops freshly caught - it's because the sea is a long way away.

    We could have yabbies I suppose but they take such a long time prepare - catch them in the dam, clean them in clear water for three days and then and only then are they ready for cooking.

    We'd probably have to get one of those imported NZ Malbourough Sauvignon Blancs to go with.

    For the next course, d'yer think that rabbit would do? There's masses of them down by the creek and it's only a matter of catching them, knocking them off. skinning them, etc. They make a great dish that's full of flavour.

    We could have hare, but catching it is difficult as they run really, really fast.

    And if you get well in time, then there's freshly picked broad beans to go with. In fact they are popping up all over the place as we fed them to the sheep last year and some got ignored.

    Which brings me to roast leg of lamb.

    The lambs are a bit to small at present, but they are growing at 250 grams per day (I hope) and will be fine for the table in a couple of months.

    We'd have to down a bottle of Shiraz with the lamb and there's a famous line of Shiraz from Taminick not too far away.

    If you're allergic to lamb then there's Skippy - or perhaps I should say "a skippy". There's a number that have arrived without invitation and they appear to be multiplying - again without a permit - so something has to be done.

    This does mean that you'll have to shoot one and that means you have to have a permit and the right gun. I suppose that you have to be able to aim straight too. Anyhow, kangaroo is very good, lotsa flavour, little fat (unlike lamb) and goes well with Cabernet Sauvignon (unlike lamb).

    I dunno what we'll do for dessert as yet, it depends how the orchard is going. White peaches would be good.

    Whatever it is there's a loverly sticky to be had from Milawa - where the cheese come from as well.

    So get well soon and make a visit.

    Regards - Fencerjohn

  95. I wonder has Gordon Ramsay has seen this?. He would say "F*** Me!.

  96. K, we had this link from Australia and I'm going to attempt to ID the foods without looking at prior posts:

    1 corn/potato 'stew'(?) with either tomato/capsicum
    2 bangers/mash with beans
    3 'stew' with peas
    4 'fish'(with lentils/chips??)
    5 big lump mashed spuds with peas
    6 giant squash with giant mushrooms and tomato
    7 capsicum with carrots/peas

    oh geez I give up lol.... it really IS impossible!!
    cheers to you dude :)

  97. Come on guys and gals. These are perfectly edible food! I work in a public hospital in Australia and the staff cafeteria serves the same food as what the patients get... and I've been having it for 7 years....

  98. I'm particularly disturbed by the top right corner. What the hell is that?! It looks neon green. Ugh.

  99. dear traction man ,
    so sorry to hear you are stuck in traction , and even sorrier to see what they are forcing you to eat , maybe it would help if you explain to them that the geneva conventionm restricts the torture of helpless prisoners and demand a red cross care package?if not , let me know how to send you some nice peanut brittle with a file in it so you can tunnel your way out of the ward

  100. All the other medication we give you are placebos. Peas are where the real therapy lies. The drug companies bribe us with free meals (at expensive restaurants, not with hopsital food) to keep mum about it, but alas I can remain silent on this no longer.

    Peas on earth and mercy mild.

    Dr. Chris

    PS - I have to agree on the comments about feeding patients who need nutrition this junk...the last thing people with chemotherapy or malignancy-induced anorexia need is food that even my dog wouldn't eat (and he eats his own poo)

  101. Here's a link to a large pic of hospital bingo complete with numbered meals (from the Guardian website).

    Only look if you're feeling brave and have a strong stomach.

    I feel queasy now...

    PS. Security word: gnicrald... Google stumped. Any suggestion?

  102. This reminds me of my first year of university - residence food run by multinational corporations only interested in the bottom line. The joys of cheese pie (a block of rubber encased in chemical-tasting pastry) and pasta with "protein sauce"!

    And hey, at least you get vegetables (if you can call them that...). The only green stuff we ate for the whole year was raw spinach. Every day. Twice a day. For eight months.

    Forget about the freshman 15. Most people I know (even teetotallers!) gained at least 25 lbs.

    We couldn't figure out which was worse - refusing the food, which resulted in malnutrition and a constant state of hunger, or eating what we were given and thereby clogging our arteries and swelling our waistlines for years to come.

    And this wasn't even the dark ages of the 50s and 60s. I'm only two years out of that hell hole!

  103. Your blog was published today in Geneva in one of the free newspapers. I love your sense of irony and yes, you have every right to criticize NHS for its catered food. I was in and out of the state-run Geneva hospital for several years. My insurance company paid for everything (my insurance premium was about GBP 500/month for 1st class room) but still, I was glad to have my laptop and mobile phone so I could order food from outside.

    I tried guessing what "food" your photos represent. My conclusion is they are all puke from various animals but I'm unable to guess which ones apart from B6. I bet it's from a boa constrictor suffering from indigestion.

    Hope you get better fast and enjoy your catered meal.

    PS: I got lots of morphine and other pain killers but I nonetheless enjoyed an occasional glass of Bordeaux my friends smuggled in...

  104. Well, I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what you are speaking about, and I can truly get behind that. Thanks for staying so upfront and so sincere.

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