Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Watch it here


  1. Bugga !!!

    Not available here either, I'll just have to wait for the DVD :-)

  2. Try the link I posted under your post in the previous post. Does that make sense? :-)

  3. This one

  4. Dear Mark,
    I am 60 and I have been cooking both domestically and commercially since I was 13.
    Since 2003, I have been in Medway, Bournemouth, Hastings and Canterbury hospitals. In all four hospitals the food was appealing and both smelled and tasted good. Unfortunately, nearly all of it was cold.
    The food was comparatively good because when I was in Minster, Sheppey hospital to have my children in the 80s, it was awful. As nursing mothers,the first meal was one spoonful of grey mash and a ladle full of lifeless stew. No starter or dessert appeared. Half an hour later, cold dumplings, cabbage, and jam sponge appeared. Meal 2 at the hospital was quiche and limp WARM salad, served by a nurse with one hand while she held her nose with the other, visibly retching.
    In 2003 I was admitted to Medway with Lymes Disease. My digestive system was shot and I had small portions by request, which I could only just manage. Everything I was given was delicious and warm. Sugar, salt and butter pats were available on every tray, but not in the food. Two years later, I was back at the same hospital suffering from pancreatitis, gall stones an infected gall bladder and a stomach ulcer. No food was allowed until after my op, six days later. My consultant gave instructions to the nursing staff that for a week I was to have soup, soft bread and milky puds. I came back from my op to eat for the first time to find that the promised hot meal was not waiting for me and after a fuss the only thing to hand was a crab salad sandwich which gave me sickness and diahorrea. Breakfast was two slices of dry toast. Co- incidently after complaining I was discharged but not before I complained in writing. I have since complained twice in writing to the hospital and with my doctors prompting, to the Ombudsmam. Four letters later, the catering manager at Medway hospital apologised. It appears he was not given my dietry requirements.

    Last year I had a stroke and spent a week in Hastings Hospital. Large portions attractively served with nurses on hand, but they had no control over when the meals arrived and could not always stop nursing if hot food arrived early. In Canterbury for the first time, the meals were hot as well as being large appealing and tasty, BUT late.
    In Bournemouth A and E. I was given a succession of tasty sandwiches very fresh, but no hot food all day.
    All the hospitals I have been in recently have provided endless hot and cold drinks, and in Medway, lots of digestive biscuits. In 2003 in Medway the only problem was that on one of the days I was there, unbelievably, one whole day we had double nurses on shift and no auxilaries, as they had all gone off together somewhere. The nurses were reluctant to provide hot drinks
    At Hastings, evening meals were served by 6pm and breakfast from 8 am onwards. No biscuits at 10pm as at Medway. When it was found that due to my diabetes I couldn't go from 6pm until 8am (14 hrs) without food I was given a pkt of fresh sandwiches to eat at 10pm.
    From my experiences in all five hospitals, I judged that how you are fed is down to the nurses. Some nurses grudgingly serve meals and will, under pressure, supervise and feed. Other nurses just take it in their stride and you get a reasonable input, but the best nurses see that part of your progress is due to the food being appealing nutritius, hot and edible, and will go that extra mile for you.
    Best regards, Sylvia Turner

  5. Hi, I'm just watching the Dispatches show, and I must say that when I was in hospital a couple of years ago for an operation, and I actually really enjoyed the hospital food.

    However, there was an elderly lady opposite me who had a 'nil by mouth' sign up, and I'd noticed she had it up for a couple of days so I asked her if she was going to have an operation, and she said no and it was there when she got the bed, and was too worried to make a fuss and ask the nurses for food etc. I literally could not believe it. So she'd gone for atleast 2 days without food, and no one had noticed.

    There are many failings within the NHS and lots of brilliant things that they do. However some things need a massive overhaul.

  6. Saw the prog. Interesting that the few decent meals you had came from the staff kitchen, and the "crap" came from miles away.
    Surely the simplest cure for bad food would have been to close the staff kitchen and for the staff restaurant to have served the same meals as were served to the patients.
    Especially if top management had to eat the same food as the patients.

  7. in 1995 at the age of 28, having had a serious road accident, i spent 6 weeks in two different hospitals. before this i was a normal, unhealthy young man. The hospital food in both hospitals let the standard of care down badly. sometime afterwards, i was in a third hospital talking to a consultant about the operation i was due to have. i asked him how long it would take me to recover and what food i should eat from that point on that would give me the best healing results possible. his answer was delivered in an arrogant, condescending and non-caring manner, "6 months healing, and meat and two veg like everyone else".

    i went straight to a london nutritionist and ate exactly as he told me. when it came to my operation i healed in under 3 months. the consultant was surprised. during the week after the operation i had all my food brought into hospital by a friend. i would never eat any food given or sold to me in a hospital. at that time in my life it was made blatantly obvious to me that you couldn't trust any hospital authority when it came to food.
    since those days i have changed my career and now work with healthy food. when i was asked to join this profession i said i would, on condition there would be NO CHEMICALS near, on, or in the food i work with. i see chemicals on or in food as unnecessary poison. i see healthy natural food and clean water as a fundamental of life. check this site out

    You have brought great awareness to the public that some people are prepared to give what amounts to poison to other people, calling it food. In a hospital of all places, talk about front!
    the sad thing was that what dispatches showed was the level of ill-health in most if not all of the people interviewed. i put it to anyone reading this to watch the program again and take a close look at everyone. The worst was the new chief executive from the heart of england trust. talk about scary, he wouldn't know what a good standard of healthy food is. i don't believe he eats food, i believe he eats processesed chemical-based crap.

  8. it is shockingly sad that a young man with cystic fibrosis was sitting at home and in hospital with a can of fizzy drink that has caramel colouring and other chemical combinations which are clinically proven to be carcinogenic. in some parts of the world these drinks may soon have to carry a warning label on the packaging.
    in what one would think is an intelligent country you would never expect drinks with carcinogenic health-destroying chemicals to be allowed or sold in the vicinty of a hospital. it would be great if we were educated by hospitals, the place we expect knows how to care for human life, to eat for good health. but we are not. and this is the tip of the iceberg.

    in a nutshell, your documentary has raised an issue and it has missed the big point. a lot of people are heading to hospitals through eating terrible things they call food in the first place and are programmed by this unintelligent country that food has nothing to do with health or ill-health to the point that it is probably illegal to make claims of this link between food and ill-health unless you are a medical doctor. i have known doctors as friends and i would not trust any with their knowledge of food or preventative lifestyle. i wouldn't trust them with anything.

    it's wonderful that you have started a national conversation by writing this blog and documenting your experiences and the plight of other patients too and i would love to see you take the whole idea of eating for health much further. the dietician, jaclyn cliff, talked about how the meal, a fish pie, was good because of the protein and calories. a qualification isn't about a piece of paper, it's about how savvy the research is that it's based on. this qualified dietician was meant to be where dispatches was trying to show some good parts of the nhs. even david kirchoff, president of Weight Watchers has finally seen and publicly admitted that comparisons of the calories in food offers no real help, and instead he now encourages members to just eat "more natural, less processed food".

    furthermore, the authorities who are believed to be protective, for example the uk government and the eu government, are trying to ban herbs and medicinal plants or remedies as we speak, ( while giving huge tax breaks, to corporations like drugs companies. it would be good if you interviewed independent qualified nutritionists that don't work for the nhs and showed them your blog and documentary to get their take on the british standard of health and eating in society as well as in hospitals.
    i'd like to stay anonymous because there is no safety for anyone trying to help people with their health by giving a strong opinion.

  9. the last two comments above were written to be read as one

  10. The remedy for the slop served as hospital "food" is perfectly simple - make the Minister for Health and his/her civil servants eat the horrid stuff. At hospital level, the management should be served exactly the same meals to which the patients are subjected.

    There would soon be an improvement in standards.

    As for that French company, is it their revenge for us trouncing them at Agincourt and Waterloo?

  11. I agree. Making management eat the same as the patients (politicians too) is the way ahead.

  12. O.K. Thanks got it watched it and nightmares to follow :-)

    I thought it was bad enough seeing stills of your food, seeing them in motion is frightning, what was that grey quivering mess again?

    I know you have enough on your plate :-) but you might see what they do to diabetics in your hospitals even worse, if that is possible but consider that a diabetic can tell within an hour what the meal servered does to them. There are several U.K. based diabetic forums (Google - Forum U.K.) where horror stories about hospital food abound. I must admit my food here in the 2 months I spent in hospital here was bland but nowhere as disgusting as your appeared, just boring.

  13. show me a link between cystic fibrosis and the food you eat please

    other than that i HIGHLY agree with what your saying about the type of food the man was eating even i was like wtf?! pure junk food!

  14. Patients With cystic fibrosis have mucous in their lungs and digestive tract. This means that food is not so easily absorbed. They need to keep their weight up as they are prone to infections and if they are taken ill they will need every ounce of flesh to keep them going. Visit the cystic fibrosis trudt's website to find out more.

  15. Mark - Great programme! As a type 1 diabetic for 20 years, now in my late 30s, I sporadically spend a week or so in hospital. Fortunately for me (well sort of) I am not usually well enough to eat until the 6th or 7th day when I finally start to become better again. But food is certainly not at all tempting even after such a period of starvation! Luckily at this stage I still have youth (just!) on my side, but I have frequently witnessed the elderly and less able struggling with these meals. As you say in the programme, and as any regular hospitaler will know, meals despite their sometimes disappointing contents, are a highlight of the day, as are cups of tea rounds etc.

    I usually come out of hospital much medically improved, but totally exhausted (no sleep) and very very hungry!

    I've seen a lot of neglect, and had some too myself at the hands of NHS hospitals, i.e., left for 14 hours on a trolley (in a bay on a ward) with no insulin or drip or other medication, so hate to think what others may be going through.

    I know they are overstretched medically, but as your programme indicates the food side of things seems easily improved, perhaps by a bit of healthy competition and the removal of supplier monopolies. Having said that, am I right in thinking that the trusts now choose their own suppliers?

    Should we all now be complaining to our GP's as the Health Minister suggested at the end of the programme about hospital meals and aid for those who need it?

    I'm so glad you are on the case! Happy to help if I can btw - relatively local.

  16. PS: Just read the post above mine - I've never been provided with any info about the carbohydrate value in the meals offered (the figure needed to calculate how much insulin is needed to maintain a suitable blood sugar.) However, I do advise other diabetics in hospital on fast-acting insulin to take it after they have eaten, because you might not be able to manage a full meal.

  17. Sam... We need guerrila tactics. It's now good relying on patient groups, ombudsmen or PALs. All of us need to challenge bad practice. If elderly people or others are being neglected, we need to speak up. It's our NHS and we have to take it back from the politicians, managers and unions. Trust boards should be elected and made up of patients and medics. Enough is enough!

  18. Well done Mark for making this documentary happen!

    I enjoyed it so much, I did a bit of a review on it, on my blog. Hoping to create a little more awareness.

    Wishing you speedy recovery!