Recently OPSEU was at York Central Hospital to make a video about the work done by hospital support staff.
That included time spent in the kitchen, where staff told us about their switch to fresh food service, which they say is a hit among patients. Not only are they turning their back on the rethermalized mush that is the horror of most hospital patients, but are offering a choice of delicious freshly prepared meals.
“Gone are generic and reheated meals,” Director of Food Services Cyril Saunders told yorkregion.com, “in their place are made-from-scratch meals that patients order based on their preferences as well as their dietary needs.”
Food services “hosts” take orders from patients using hand-held tablets. The host sends the order to the kitchen and later delivers it to the patient.
The hospital anticipates that the new program will dramatically reduce food waste.
Meanwhile, in the part of the province where much of this food is grown, the South Bruce Grey Health Centre continues to defy the move to fresh by completing their plan to replace local food with the kind of rethermalized content that has failed in so many other locations.
Many community members are complaining in the local media, pointing to a September letter authored by 12 local doctors.
The doctors write that the “patients are not eating the stuff” claiming that the current food does not meet the minimum dietary standards for a hospital.
When SBGHC switched to retherm, they also replaced the cafeterias with vending machines, leaving hospital staff with nowhere to access their own meals.
“Admittedly secondary to patient considerations,” the letter states, “the staff, from nurses to physicians to food services and maintenance staff are left as isolated, fend for yourself individuals when it comes to food, all the while trying to cope with the requirements of their positions.”
The docs also complained about new gates to access parking at the hospital, which also impedes access to the emergency department.
York Central is more than ten times larger than a rural hospital like SBGHC and with that size come ten times the resources (more actually). This is an irresponsible and inflammatory comparison.
Is it? The docs at SBGHC would appear to disagree. Are you saying that patients at small rural hospitals should have terrible rethermalized food while large urban hospitals should have the kind of food that is healthier for patients and reduces food waste? The retherm process strips much of the nutrients out of these foods, and if people don’t eat it, they don’t get any nutrients. This hardly encourages recovery, and the longer they stay in hospital, well, are you really saving money at that point?
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