HOSPITALS are not known for having tasty food but the good news is that Rockingham General Hospital is one of five undergoing a menu overhaul.
Hospital catering will also be more responsive to feedback on meal choices and quality at Fremantle, Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner and King Edward Memorial Hospital.
If a dish does not get good reviews, or is not being ordered, it will be removed from the menu and replaced.
�If you�re unwell, you don�t want a bland or unpalatable meal in front of you,� Health Minister Kim Hames said when announcing the initiative on Thursday, July 9.
�Hospital food has quite rightly in many cases earned its bad reputation but it doesn�t have to be like that.�
However, hospitals will be responsible for managing the cost of �better� patient meals within their annual budget allocation.
The cost of the catering and consultant contracts awarded by the Department of Health are not publicly available.
The 2013/14 annual report for the Metropolitan Health Service overall showed more than $26 million was spent on food supplies for patients in 2014 and nearly $24 million in 2013.
Rockingham Peel Group executive director Geraldine Carlton said the first elements of the new menu program were introduced last month.
�Patients are enjoying the ability to mix and match from an expanded menu choice,� Ms Carlton said.
�Very soon, new menu cards carrying helpful descriptions of dishes will be rolled out that will further help patients handpick a menu to their liking.�
Rockingham General Hospital has also had the benefit of a consumer on the hospital�s Nutrition Management Committee for the past two years and a second consumer has recently joined the committee.
Local food identity Verity James was selected through a competitive process to oversee the new program and help communicate the changes.
She was awarded a four-month contract, with the possibility of extension and four catering suppliers were awarded three-year contracts with one-year extension options.
All meals will meet the nutrition standards for adult inpatients in WA Hospitals that were introduced in August 2012.
AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon�s welcomed the move to improve patient stay in hospital but said there were �more important issues� like the redevelopment of Royal Perth Hospital that should come well before meal changes.