Thursday, 24 June 2010

A bridie in the hand

My thanks to The Englishman for passing on this shocking story of disgusting hospital food (I'm using the term 'food' very loosely here). The food in question was served up at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, Scotland. A local doctor, Grace Campbell, was horrified to see the food her husband was given following an angioplasty at the hospital looked as if it was designed to fur his arteries up again as quickly as possible.

It appears that the local health authority feels that the best food to serve people recovering from coronaries and other heart conditions should include bridies (a fatty meat and pastry delicacy hailing from Forfar, that centre of culinary excellence and home of the deep-fried Mars Bar), cottage pie, sausages and haggis.

Following his angioplasty, Dr Campbell's husband, who also happens to be a doctor, was offered high-fat, processed food, most of which, according to Dr Campbell, was unrecognisable. She said: "The staff were very apologetic but they said that was all that was sent up for all the seriously ill patients in the coronary care unit. The poor staff were mortified as they served the meals which were at best inedible."

Mrs Campbell said that she was forced to bring meals into the hospital for her husband, "as if in a Third World country".

Complaints about the catering at Hairmyres date back to 2001 and NHS Lanarkshire was among the health boards criticised in a report on the quality of hospital food in March. It was one of four that received a "red rating" from a National Facilities Scotland report for failing to meet government standards. The report said that overall, Scotland's hospitals were failing to improve the meals provided for patients.

And the response from the hospital? "All inpatients are presented with nutritionally balanced menu choices, all of which are of nutritional value. We are aware a complaint has been received and we will be fully investigating this."

"All of which are nutritional value"! What sort of fuckwit with a PR degree came up with a quote like that? Of course it has nutritional value: a block of lard has nutritional value, but not necessarily very good nutritional vale. Where in god's name do they find these pen-pushing twats?

Another candidate for the gulag when the revolution comes.

Make your own Bridie

12oz / 300g plain flour
3oz / 75g butter (diced)
3oz / 75g suet
Couple tbs. of cold water
Pinch of salt.

Meat Filling
1lb / 450g finely chopped beef
1 finely chopped onion.
3oz / 75g grated beef suet

Cook for 30- 40 minutes until golden brown and meat is cooked at 200 degrees C or 400 F.


  1. My father was in Papworth Hospital in Suffolk 28 years ago for major heart surgery. The food was so poor that the families and visitors were asked to bring in nutritious food - not only for the patients but for the staff as well. A salad consisted of 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice of tomato and 1 slice of cucumber. I thought things might have improved over the years - obviously not!

  2. My God.... I was shocked reading that, what the bloody hell is going on in the minds of these people, have they got actual qualifications to proove they are who they say they are , where are they trained at, and what are they being trained to do ?

    XTM.... I am sure some of us could come up with a nutritional 7 day menu here, better than the trained so called experts can ....!!!

    How are you progressing after the op by the way ?


  3. I'm doing very well thanks. Almost ready to walk with one stick. I think the doctors managed to get it right this time.

  4. Good news TM! You'll be back on the dance floor in no time, bridie in hand. (Sorry, irresistible image...)

  5. It's great to hear "you'll be dancing in no time, bridie in hand"

    As for the food, why don't they just shoot the patients? While not as tasty, definitely quicker. I'm going to hunt down some heart patients and see what they were fed. Hopefully it will show the NHS up. But giving fat to coronary pts. isn't hard to surpass is it?

    Libby (Canada)

  6. So glad that you are on the up and up XTM, positivity and the love of a family , and cat, works wonders, plus good cooking.


  7. i am sure the british heart foundation would be interested to hear about this - they are brilliant campaigners for health and managed to successfully have cigarette vending machines removed from use, have you thought about involving them?

  8. Good point, Bonnie. I'll look into that.

  9. Glad you're on the mend, XTM!

    Thought of you yesterday - managed to end up in hospital for emergency slipped disc surgery (which could, scarily, have paralysed my vocal cords but thankfully didn't; luckily they all seemed fascinated by me being an opera singer. However my experience is vastly different to many of those who have sent in their NHS stories. Here in Germany I have my own room with marble bathroom and balcony with room for four (OK this may not be quite normal; German friends visiting did comment on it being a rather diva form of accommodation), and if I'm not able to get down the corridor for mealtimes at the buffet, the nice nutritionist visits me and discusses what I need and what I want. Really excellent service and I wish you could all have the same.

    Yes, I pay for this - but this is on the basic mandatory state insurance, I haven't got any top-up private insurance. Just FYI!

    Now to go back and rest, reassuring my body that everything's OK despite yes, as it has just started to notice, its throat has indeed been cut...

  10. Glad you're on the mend, Englishwoman. Your hospital sounds great. We could learn quite a bit from German and French healthcare but I guess a system developed in 1946 just brings to many fond memories of the Blitz spirit for us to contemplate change or improvement.

  11. Chris, Melbourne26 June 2010 at 13:48

    Hi XTM!
    It's great that your rehab is going so well. Hard work I bet, but worth the result obviously

    In the late hours, as I turned on the PC and travelled to your blog up came a picture of decorative paving stones, at least that's what I thought they were until I read the text. Unbelievable!

    Chris in Melbourne


    the NHS in wales are trying to kill people.

    The simple fact is, most NHS hospital food is crap and now they want to take any enjoyment out of a cuppa too?

    god help us all! of it is, you can visit the hospitals little shop and buy mars bars, sugar/salt laden snacks but oh no, if you want 1 sugar in your chance!

  13. I once lived near this hospital and all my friends who were nurses told me if you ever need an ambulance on no account let them take you to Hairmyres! and that was about 14 years ago. My aunt caught mrsa after bypass surgery there, she never really recovered and died within the year.

  14. This is outrageous. My dad was taken into hospital yesterday; I will be making a full and thorough review of the food. Will keep you posted.

  15. Just saw this post. Hairmyres is up my way, although my nearest hospital is Monklands. It was refurbished/rebuilt about 9 years ago and has been having problems ever since, mainly due to a huge PFI bill. They don't have enough beds or staff and judging by this, the cuts are happening with the food as well.