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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Trust serves up sizzling score for quality of food

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has scooped top marks in the Department of Health’s survey of hospital food across the UK.

Ten of the units assessed – including Tamarind, Dan Mooney House, Ardenleigh, Zinnia, Mary Seacole House, Reaside and Eden - received 100 per cent for quality and all got 93 per cent and above for menu choice.

All facilities surveyed also gained “ticks” for providing fresh fruit and for having food available between mealtimes and for having menus approved as nutritious by dieticians. 

The patient-led assessment of NHS hospital food was based on PLACE data and was published on 29 August as a league table by the Department of Health, alongside the final report of the Hospital Food Standards Panel. The report recommends five required standards for hospitals and these will be made mandatory.

The Trust’s Chief Executive, John Short, said: “It is vital food is a top priority when it comes to improving patients’ health and emotional wellbeing.  This is especially important within a mental health service when people may be in our care for a considerable time and when health conditions and treatments may affect their morale and appetite.

“For the past five years we have worked closely with our patient forum groups to improve the quality of our menus and ensure they are high quality, nutritious and contribute to our patients’ wellbeing.   

“Since replacing the cook-freeze and cook-chill catering service at most of our sites with traditional home-style cooking and an emphasis on fresh produce cooked on-site by teams of qualified chefs, we have seen a dramatic improvement in feedback about meals and minimal waste. Patients now tell us they look forward to mealtimes and how they appreciate the variety of choice, while clinicians tell us how their patients’ mood and morale has improved.”

Our catering service works in partnership with our dietician and infection prevention teams to maintain excellent nutrition and hygiene standards and all our kitchens have been awarded the top five star rating from Birmingham City Council’s environmental health department. 

Dave Evans, Senior Facilities and Hotel Services Manager at the Trust, was a member of the national Hospital Food Standards Panel which reviewed current food standards across the NHS in the UK and recommended the five new compulsory requirements.