Recently the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) invited the public to a tasting of their new “rethermalized” food intended for inpatients at the four-site hospital. There has been much controversy in the community over the new food service — especially at a hospital located in the heart of one of Ontario’s major agricultural regions. SBGHC employs “multi-service workers” who serve the reheated food then spend the rest of their shift as cleaners. Ken Goldspink and Maryellen Pollard, Co-Chairs of the Friends of the Kincardine Hospital (FOTKH), wrote the following letter-to-the-editor:
There have been mixed reviews reported in the media regarding the quality and flavour of Retherm meals that were recently sampled at the Kincardine site of South Bruce Grey Health Centre. What was not reported was the food presented to the public on the taste-test evening was neither prepared, nor presented in the way patients will receive it.
The members of FOTKH who attended asked if the samplings were prepared using the Retherm carts. The multi-service worker admitted he had prepared them in the oven in the kitchen. When asked if patients would receive their plates as the guests did that evening, the worker admitted they would not. The patients will receive food in pre-packaged containers.
The food given for evaluation was prepared and served immediately. This is not the case for the patients. In another area hospital that is currently using this system, food is “rethermalated” and left sitting in the carts for long periods of time. The resulting food is much different from what was presented August 12th, 2010 for the public to evaluate.
Regardless of whether the food was good or bad that evening it was not a true comparator of what patients will be fed. The actual Retherm carts were not available to be seen. There was no information regarding nutrition of the meals. There were no representative samples of the food. There was no information on costs, or savings.
We applaud SBGHC for trying to engage the community more, however we would appreciate being involved prior to decisions being made, and we would like to have a true representation of what, we the public can expect. How can the public make an educated judgement without the true facts and products?
(Courtesy of the authors)