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Quality of food at TCH – has to be seen to be believed

By 15 April 2012 65

hospital food

I recently spent over a week in TCH. The care was great I cannot fault any of the Drs or nursing staff who did an outstanding job. (apart from one young,  female anaesthetic registrar who was so incredibly rude, banging the side of my bed and demanding I listen to her, much to the horror of surrounding staff- little attitude adjustment needed there)

But the food, OMG! The food was so bad that when I finally felt like eating after a week and disocvered how bad it was I had family and friends bring in something. One night I ordered spinach gnocci, can’t stuff that up I thought. Wrong. It arrived and I opened the lid to find a square of glutinous green stuff sitting on the plate. It was so bad I started laughing and then took a photo and sent it to friends and family. My advice to anyone who will be in for more than day surgery, line up your family and friends to do food runs for you.

I did start to wonder though if the inmates at AMC are catered by the same company or if they actually have proper food?

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65 Responses to Quality of food at TCH – has to be seen to be believed
#1
HerCanberra12:25 pm, 15 Apr 12

I spent six weeks in there in 2010 – after a couple of weeks, I was begging people to bring things from home or even the BP servo. Although the custard is pretty good :\

#2
buzz81912:32 pm, 15 Apr 12

I think they used to be given the same food, but that was the remand centre, I thought they had their own kitchen and they cook their own food out there? As one of the jobs you can get or something?

#3
Ben_Dover12:33 pm, 15 Apr 12

” It was so bad I started laughing and then took a photo and sent it to friends and family.”,/i>

Do share the image with us.

#4
TheGingerNinja12:45 pm, 15 Apr 12

Hospital food seems to be notoriously bad in general, you would however think that in todays climate for healthier food etc that they would lift their game especially in a hospital! mind you the question needs to be asked if the people who prepare the meals are even cooks by trade?

#5
dvaey12:47 pm, 15 Apr 12

Ben_Dover said :

Do share the image with us.

I took photos of many of my hospital meals, mostly because people wouldnt believe it unless you had a photo to prove how bad they were sometimes.

Interestingly, I used to get family to bring food sometimes, but more often from the downstairs cafe.. visitors and staff get better food than the patients, even if the food was the same (ie. a pasta from the cafe looked fresh and inviting, where the food that catering brought around looked like it had been sitting on the plate for a few hours before it got to me).

#6
trevar1:27 pm, 15 Apr 12

I won’t believe you until I see the photo.

#7
screaming banshee1:44 pm, 15 Apr 12

The food has to be bland and safe so as not to upset any sensitive tummies. At the end of the day its not about having a delicious meal it’s about sustinence and a balance of the things your body needs.

Blandness isn’t helped by the fact they have to prep all the meals to go out at the same time which usually means chilling and ‘regenerating’ the cooked items.

#8
p11:54 pm, 15 Apr 12

If anyone needs an indication of how good the food is at the hospital, just look at how many patients make the effort to get down to the cafe (which does really quite good food).

That said. Big institutions are pretty universally known for crap food.

#9
madamcholet2:21 pm, 15 Apr 12

dvaey said :

Ben_Dover said :

Do share the image with us.

I took photos of many of my hospital meals, mostly because people wouldnt believe it unless you had a photo to prove how bad they were sometimes.

Interestingly, I used to get family to bring food sometimes, but more often from the downstairs cafe.. visitors and staff get better food than the patients, even if the food was the same (ie. a pasta from the cafe looked fresh and inviting, where the food that catering brought around looked like it had been sitting on the plate for a few hours before it got to me).

I recall hearing a discussion on ABC local radio with someone from Calvary John James about their food. He did say that it is hard to get food to all corners of the hospital still warm enough and looking good – one of the downsides to what they do and how they are currently set up. Although I do believe they were on the show spruiking new facillities or something!

I was in John James hospital for 4 nights when Master Cholet decided to pop along. I must admit that the food was not great at all – even though the patients are all paying good money to be there. The saving grace for me was that I was so ravenously hungry after all that effort I ate anything that was put in front of me!

#10
dpm3:02 pm, 15 Apr 12

Is the pic the ‘square of glutinous green stuff’ (i.e. your spinach gnocci) or something else??

#11
knuckles3:05 pm, 15 Apr 12

buzz819 said :

I think they used to be given the same food, but that was the remand centre, I thought they had their own kitchen and they cook their own food out there? As one of the jobs you can get or something?

Belconnen Remand Centre inmates food was prepared by the kitchen at Calvary Hospital, which was/is run by a private contractor.

The funding provided by the government was higher per head for the inmates than the patients so the inmates ended up with much better food.

#12
cross3:18 pm, 15 Apr 12

What is TCH and an AMD ?you’re using them like it obvious and everybody should know .So your post made absolutely no sense to me.

#13
grump4:05 pm, 15 Apr 12

I am happy to be corrected but 21/2 years ago while mum was having a number of sessions in hospital prior to her passing away, that the food in hospital in canberra is not prepared on site but shipped in from Sydney from some giant preparation centre and reheated and delivered to beds.

It is uniformly crap – totatally un-appetising and unappealing when people are sick and supposed to be recovering their strength (the food was not what finally did for her I hasten to add).

#14
milkman4:18 pm, 15 Apr 12

It says ‘So Good’, but it really isn’t…

#15
roostersfan114:36 pm, 15 Apr 12

I spent 3 nights at TCH in February and 2 nights at John James
in 2010. Food at both of them was shocking!
Although the quality of care and the attitudes of the staff at TCH was so much better
than John James! So I’ll take TCH any day, particularly when the nurses do coffee runs to the cafe!

#16
poetix5:07 pm, 15 Apr 12

Good practice for when we’re really old and treated with total contempt in old people’s homes.

#17
p15:53 pm, 15 Apr 12

TCH = The Canberra Hospital (the public hospital in Canberra)
AMC = The Alexander Maconahie Centre (the prison in Canberra)

It was probably fair of the OP to think that most Canberristanis would know the acronyms, especially those who frequent this site.

#18
vg6:00 pm, 15 Apr 12

Never ceases to amaze me how people only become brave enough to try and rectify an issue when they get home and can hide behind a DSL line.

Did you mention the food to anyone? Did you complain? Not a hard thing to do.

Having been the subject of numerous orthopaedic procedures over the years, on the rare occasion I’ve had staff attitude problems I’ve dealt with them myself. Upon having a nurse who found it ‘annoying’ that I asked for pain medication after surgery to insert screws into a wrist and arm I told her I didn’t appreciate the attitude. My requests were legitimate and actually less than the standard requirements. She didn’t like that so I took the time to note her shifts and, when on during the evening and I knew she was watching TV, I would periodically buzz her and ask if it was still annoying.

One nurse told me that I was more than capable of going home 6 hrs after a knee reconstruction. I asked her if she’d suffered my injury previously. When she said know I asked her if she’d care for me to obliterate her ACL and ask if she held the same opinion. When I get treated like sh*t I become the biggest c in the world, I paid for the service so I demand it

#19
mezza766:05 pm, 15 Apr 12

Um, I suppose you are talking about the food at a public hospital? (I assumed that was what TCH is). So in essence you are complaining about the food at a publicly funded hospital where you get treated for free and you wish you had better food? While I appreciate that food at hospitals should be better, in terms of nutrition, I’d much prefer that public health funds went towards better health outcomes rather than food quality. In short Australia’s don’t pay an awful lot for hospital care but receive some of the better care in the planet. That’s what matters. I’m sure you’d be the first to complain if we raised taxes by a small fraction to ensure that next person who enters hospital and doesn’t pay anything for it gets a nice meal. Im astonished.

#20
dungfungus6:15 pm, 15 Apr 12

The subject matter in the image indicates that the patient got the plate confused with a bed pan.

#21
grump6:20 pm, 15 Apr 12

mezza76 said :

Um, I suppose you are talking about the food at a public hospital? (I assumed that was what TCH is). So in essence you are complaining about the food at a publicly funded hospital where you get treated for free and you wish you had better food? While I appreciate that food at hospitals should be better, in terms of nutrition, I’d much prefer that public health funds went towards better health outcomes rather than food quality. In short Australia’s don’t pay an awful lot for hospital care but receive some of the better care in the planet. That’s what matters. I’m sure you’d be the first to complain if we raised taxes by a small fraction to ensure that next person who enters hospital and doesn’t pay anything for it gets a nice meal. Im astonished.

Mezza – have you seen the food? honestly, a blind hamster could prepare more appealing and appetising meals

#22
gooterz6:34 pm, 15 Apr 12

You aren’t really there for the food.. If it was good then you would get people just there for the food, complaining of fake pain just to get a decent meal!

I’m sure the hospital also has very strict things about what it can and can’t cook and has to be done in huge amounts for a budget!

#23
mezza766:39 pm, 15 Apr 12

Lol. I have seen it. It doesn’t look great. But you’ve got to understand that hospitals are not hotels. Medicare doesnt provide for all proceduresv& evn then it’s not 100% of the cost. The bulk of the funds are made up of state & territories where they have the worst revenue. Eg. QLD spends about $8bn per year on health, they get about $5bn of GST… Leaving the rest to be made up from transfer duties & the like. Then they have to pay for schools, police, roads, etc. I assume that the ACT is in a similar situation & in a worst position given the small amount of taxes generated here.

Health costs are rising at about 9-10% a year. At current rates, states & territories have about 30 yrs before health costs take up the entire budget. The food is the least of my concerns…

#24
milkman7:00 pm, 15 Apr 12

grump said :

mezza76 said :

Um, I suppose you are talking about the food at a public hospital? (I assumed that was what TCH is). So in essence you are complaining about the food at a publicly funded hospital where you get treated for free and you wish you had better food? While I appreciate that food at hospitals should be better, in terms of nutrition, I’d much prefer that public health funds went towards better health outcomes rather than food quality. In short Australia’s don’t pay an awful lot for hospital care but receive some of the better care in the planet. That’s what matters. I’m sure you’d be the first to complain if we raised taxes by a small fraction to ensure that next person who enters hospital and doesn’t pay anything for it gets a nice meal. Im astonished.

Mezza – have you seen the food? honestly, a blind hamster could prepare more appealing and appetising meals

A blind hamster would BE a more appealing and appetising meal.

#25
How_Canberran7:07 pm, 15 Apr 12

vg said :

Never ceases to amaze me how people only become brave enough to try and rectify an issue when they get home and can hide behind a DSL line.

Did you mention the food to anyone? Did you complain? Not a hard thing to do.

Having been the subject of numerous orthopaedic procedures over the years, on the rare occasion I’ve had staff attitude problems I’ve dealt with them myself. Upon having a nurse who found it ‘annoying’ that I asked for pain medication after surgery to insert screws into a wrist and arm I told her I didn’t appreciate the attitude. My requests were legitimate and actually less than the standard requirements. She didn’t like that so I took the time to note her shifts and, when on during the evening and I knew she was watching TV, I would periodically buzz her and ask if it was still annoying.

One nurse told me that I was more than capable of going home 6 hrs after a knee reconstruction. I asked her if she’d suffered my injury previously. When she said know I asked her if she’d care for me to obliterate her ACL and ask if she held the same opinion. When I get treated like sh*t I become the biggest c in the world, I paid for the service so I demand it

…..and they will wait patiently for your next visit just to cater for your ‘demands’.

#26
cranky7:07 pm, 15 Apr 12

Spent a couple of weeks in TCH a year or so ago. I eat to stay alive, and have nothing but praise for the meals provided. Seemed to me to be balanced nutricianlly (sp?) and well worth eating.

Its not like your paying a squillion dollars per meal.

#27
cross7:48 pm, 15 Apr 12

p1 said :

TCH = The Canberra Hospital (the public hospital in Canberra)
AMC = The Alexander Maconahie Centre (the prison in Canberra)

It was probably fair of the OP to think that most Canberristanis would know the acronyms, especially those who frequent this site.

Lived in Canberra for 40 years and never heard these but then I’m not in the public service were these acronyms run riot.
P.S. It’s Alexander Maconochie Centre sorry for the correction,could’nt help myself.

#28
m00nee8:11 pm, 15 Apr 12

A few years ago I spent a week at calvary. After three days the nurses noted that I must be getting better. Considering how crappy I felt I had to ask how they came to that conclusion.

The answer? “Because you’ve stopped eating the food”.

#29
milkman9:12 pm, 15 Apr 12

cross said :

p1 said :

TCH = The Canberra Hospital (the public hospital in Canberra)
AMC = The Alexander Maconahie Centre (the prison in Canberra)

It was probably fair of the OP to think that most Canberristanis would know the acronyms, especially those who frequent this site.

Lived in Canberra for 40 years and never heard these but then I’m not in the public service were these acronyms run riot.
P.S. It’s Alexander Maconochie Centre sorry for the correction,could’nt help myself.

Let’s just call it the gaol and be done with it.

#30
el9:27 pm, 15 Apr 12

cross said :

P.S. It’s Alexander Maconochie Centre sorry for the correction,could’nt help myself.

“Couldn’t”.

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