Sep 7 2011 by Shona Mitchell, East Kilbride News
CELEBRITY chef and food consultant Nick Nairn has given his full backing to the News’ ‘Dish Up Better Grub’ campaign.
In recent weeks we have already received the full support of local MSPs Linda Fabiani and Margaret McCulloch, the East Kilbride public and the Scottish Patients’ Association. NHS Lanarkshire’s Clinical Forum have also indicated they are keen to work with us.
This week Nick tells the News why he thinks our campaign is so important.
Speaking from his successful Cook School in the Port of Menteith, the ambassador of fresh Scottish produce and healthy eating said: “I attended the opening of Forth Valley Royal Hospital last year and when I got a tour I was pleased and surprised to see the standard of the kit they had put in their kitchens to prepare patients’ food on the premises.
“They also have a canteen which is open to everyone and the standard of food was excellent. It made me wonder, why all other hospitals can’t do this?
“I’ve not been in hospital myself for a long while but certainly my friends and family have found the food to be shocking and this is in various hospitals.
“There are so many reasons why good, nutritious, fresh food should be served in hospitals.
“Food not only provides nutrition, but it is essential for positive mental health too and it should be a time of the day patients look forward to.”
He added: “Hospital food is a matter of priority and decisions like the one at Hairmyres not to have a dedicated on-site kitchen should never have been made.
“It should not be an afterthought. It is no wonder Scotland is the poor man of Europe when we have a shocking disregard for the food we eat, even in hospital.
“I think Hairmyres should look to purchase land nearby to build a full kitchen. Funding should be made available for this. Food being shipped up from England is not acceptable and serving food to patients which is a few days old is not right.
“Hospital eating experiences could put people off food for life.
“I’ve heard of people being given pies after heart attacks, this is scandalous and heavily processed foods high in fat, sugar and salt should not even be an option.”
The Scottish chef think the News’ campaign is “great” and hopes it can achieve a result.
He continued: “I am absolutely behind the News campaign and it would be great to achieve a result, not only for the patients of Hairmyres, but it could also stand as an example of how other hospitals should take local, healthy food cooked in the area on board.
“I wish the News every success and hope you get success as it’s really very important.”
Anne Armstrong, chair of NHS Lanarkshire’s Area Clinical Forum said: “We know that patients want to see an improvement in hospital food at Hairmyres. We are committed to doing this and this was at the heart of our recent review of patient catering across Lanarkshire.
“While we can understand why people would feel that building new kitchen facilities is a solution, we believe there is a lot more we can do with our current catering service to deliver real improvements. We think that once the recommendations of our review have been implemented, patients will see a real difference in the food they are served.
“We also feel it is important that we try these methods before investing any money in building a kitchen which would leave less resource available to provide clinical services to patients.”