The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has just been awarded a five star award and clean bill of health from Reading’s Environmental Health Team for its Royal Berkshire Hospital catering team. The hospital is one of the few hospitals still offering a plated meal service, with all the food prepared in-house by the kitchen’s 15 chefs. Its’ meals are also regularly commended by patients on NHS Choices and highly rated in the Trust’s annual PLACE score, published each year.
Daniel Cripps, Trust Catering Manager - leads a 74-strong catering team that plans, cooks and delivers 45,000 patient meals a month, as well as running two busy restaurants around the RBH site (The Eating HUB & Tec- a-break) and Delibar (DELIghts), serving more than 250,000 members of staff and visitors each year.
Daniel added: “The majority of hospitals now use frozen ready-made meals to save on staffing costs, but we see the value of freshly cooked nutritional meals for our patients.”
There is a regular ‘meet the chef’ walk-about on the hospital wards where the chefs ask patients, visitors and ward staff what they think of the food and improvements they would like to see.
“The feedback we receive makes all the hard work worthwhile. But any feedback we receive we use to develop, improve our Patient meal service wherever we can. My team also visits wards daily, actively listening to patients and ensuring the high standard and quality of food is maintained.
“We understand the importance of food in a patient’s recovery, and do everything possible to ensure we have good, appetising food for our patients to eat.
“The challenge - to provide this high standard of quality, whilst still balancing the books - is not an easy task.
“The food served to our patients is offered in our restaurants, following meticulous recipes. Any new dishes are trialled and receive feedback from the staff and visitors before going out to patients.
“So far we have had very successful year, and want to maintain the level we have set. I am extremely proud of my team, and this has only been achieved because they work as a team to ensure we can produce the volume of meals at a consistent level.”
Trust Chief Executive, Jean O’Callaghan, popped in to the restaurant on Friday to congratulate the team. “The quality of food here is wonderful. I get many letters thanking me for the great care our staff give, but patients will often compliment the food too. With a variety of menus to meet nutritional, cultural and dietary requirements, the Catering team gets five stars from us all.”