New menu for Rockingham General Hospital

New menu for Rockingham General Hospital

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.