Saturday, 9 January 2010

You and Yours

Radio 4's consumer affairs programme, You and Yours, will be featuring an item on hospital food and nutrition on Monday at 12 Noon (GMT). You can listen on line at or you can listen at a more convenient time using the BBC iPlayer.

The programme will be talking to a group called Sustain. They're lobbying for improved nutritional standards in the NHS. I tentatively support Sustain in their efforts but I'm really wary of mandated standards as targets have a tendency to be warped and mangled once the bureaucrats get hold of them. Sustain also has a history of favouring diets that lean towards veganism, and that's one sort of nutrition that would have buggered up my recovery completely. However, Sustain has assured me that they only want the NHS to buy less (but better quality) meat and dairy products. Perhaps so, although I fail to see how the NHS could serve up any less meat since there was sod all of the stuff in most of the meals I tasted during my time in hospital this year. And as for dairy products... those were pretty thin on the ground too.

Personally, I'd prefer to see a all patients spending more than one week in hospital being entitled to an assessment with a dietician to sort out their dietary needs, followed by a suitable menu plan to aid their recovery. That said, I can just imagine the bed managers and clipboard merchants chucking everyone out of hospital after they've been there for 6 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds! They're no better than the managers of tractor factories in the Stalin's Soviet Union as they struggle to reach targets or face five years in a gulag... or lose their bonus in the case of the NHS!

Anyway, let's see what the programme is like and hope that it may make a difference.


  1. Irks! I thought you had had to go back into a ward ... what nightmarishly sticky peas! Not to mention the other fayre ... How is your leg doing? I remember you said the cast will come off Thursday, so good luck!! Best wishes from Styria. Barbara

  2. Hi Barbara... My cast fell off the other day so I'm experimenting with leaving it off as I really think it's cooked enough. My muscles are wasted and there is a huge amount of callus around the fracture but it feels quite stable. However, the muscles are so loose that my legs feels a bit wobbly. Also, the length difference is really noticeable and I have to bend my good leg by 30 degrees just to stand straight in bare feet. It's not easy to adjust to the idea. I think I need intensive physio now to get some use back into that leg. The good news is that it must be still healing as it feels hotter than my other leg even though I don't have a temperature. The body is a wonderful machine.

  3. Glad to know the healing process is still going strong, must have something to do with the better nutrition mrs ex-TM is providing. The length difference will be less noticeable in time xx Happy new year to you both xx

  4. Chris of Melbourne9 January 2010 at 14:11

    Hi XTM.
    Now come on, own up, where did you buy it. That plastic stuff and the transparent gravy couldn't possibly be real.
    Could it?

    I can get stuff on the BBCiplayer over here so will make a point of listening to what the Sustain people have to say.

    One of my resolutions for 2010 is to be completely non PC ( worse than usual). I've promised myself that I will ask any person from the clip boarders up whether they are vegetarian, before I get the lecture about whats good for me.This, I have decided will include any subject but particularly anything to do with the health services, as a lot of them look like your Lord Stern. ( family threaten at this point not to go out with me )
    We seem to have followed the NHS ideals over the last few years, although the 'noters' pretend all of the ideas are original and all their own work and make lofty comments from within their three piece suits about 'Worlds Best Practice'. So the bit about the bed people struck a chord. I guess the same sort of heifer dust applies throughout the Public Health System but a bonus or penalty system applied in the Emergency Department of a major Melbourne hospital,on one of my sight seeing trips. Apparently to comply with the Walt Disney rules a patient can only be on a trolley for a certain time prior to discharge, admission or found a bed, before the penalties kick in. It was a busy night in the Emergency so as a consequence I was involved in a crazy game of musical beds. Just as I got settled and ready for treatment, along came the clipboard and off I went to some other corner, 'til the early hours of the morning, in a covert operation I was taken to what seemed to be a broom cupboard and treated.
    I' don't know, for the life of me who was going to be checking at 3am!
    Whilst being a captive audience from time to time I have formed an opinion about nutritionists as well. Here a lot of them seem to be 'Mortar Board' types with no actual idea other than the text book stuff. I've often been told Basmati rice is what I should use. It sort of mucks them up to have someone say why? 'Cos it says so here (waving book Hospital food for fun and profit).Cheek.
    Actually from research, basmati is very little different from any other rice nutritionally which is grudgingly admitted when the issue is pressed.
    Maybe someones got shares in the importer.
    Just back to Hospital food for a mo, I have treatment on a regular basis every few weeks, which entails a complete day in a clinic, allowing the opportunity for two meals.
    Being a specialist clinic,the staff get to know each patient fairly well, so I can get the wheeze on whats 'cooking' so to speak.
    Last week lunch could have been Turkey with veges,the charge nurse said she would know who the Turkey was if I asked for that, a word to the wise if nothing else. Sandwiches thanks. Like your NHS I gather, all made off site, dished up in the Hospital kitchen.

    Hope you are all well,and not too cold. Keeping an eye on the weather from here.
    Chris, Melbourne OZ.

  5. just been on holiday to egypt - I think the airlines are trying to compete with the NHS for worst food possible - at least we were only incarcerated for a few hours!!

  6. Don't know where you got that pic from but it looks like something a pathologist might end up with!
    I trust your dinner will be better than that and help your recovery with lots of bone-building goodness.

  7. I was really worried when I first saw the pic posted XTM, I thought you were back in the hospital,,!!!!

    I think the ministers and everyone involved with the NHS food problem, should be booked into a ward, not altogether, but at different dates, for a week or so , in different hospitals as in patients.

    They can then experience what other patients go through, short or long term.

    But , you will never get any MP or any member of parliament to do such a thing, that would be totally beneath them and their standards in life.

    All these minions that are in charge of the food served in the hospitals, hide what is really happening, so they should organise a mystery patient, sort of Ombudsman, to stay in a ward and take everything in and report the findings.


  8. Had me worried there that you had gone back inside! Good to read it is just an ad for a radio show.

    I would like to suggest that the NHS stop trying to be politically correct on diet and accept that someone in hospital long term, or even short term, needs access to a very high standard of nutrition of their choice! So, if they choose to be 'unhealthy' then they are still making the choice. Unless it is medically inadviseable. When in hospital we need medical care not a nanny!

    Keep up the fight!

  9. Chris of Melbourne10 January 2010 at 08:37

    @ Ness,17.13
    Never a truer word!
    That's the problem here as well, the powers that run each Hospital always turn everything on when an MP or Minister do the tour. Everything's like the army, painted if it doesnt move. An undercover operative sounds brilliant.

    Chris of Melbourne

  10. The "suitable diet" stuff all sounds lovely and, in an ideal world, it would work and run like clockwork.

    However, I fear it isn't the clipboard monkeys that would bugger it up. It would be the outsourced "cooks" (read: warmer uppers). They have to cook for a hospital of hundreds of people. It's simply not practical to accommodate everyone's needs. They have to deliver a hot meal. The next problem is getting the patient to eat the bloody stuff. Even if it were gourmet standard, most patients haven't the cognitive capacity to eat it.

    Standards vary from hospital to hospital but I can vouch that the food at the hospital I go to is nourishing and edible. I've not seen the horrors you reported on from your hospital for a good many years. But patients still leave malnourished because they haven't the gumption to put fork to mouth and the nurses are too busy saving lives by administering medicine and treatment.

  11. That's an interesting view. I have to admit it's the first time I've heard the argument that patients get malnourished because they lack the moral fibre to eat up what's put in front of them. I can assure you I had the willingness to put a fork in my food and then transfer it to my mouth but I had a problem when it cam e to swallowing.

  12. I can't under stand the above discussions anyone define me in more details.