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

Someonesmother 15 April 2012 66

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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66 Responses to Quality of food at TCH – has to be seen to be believed
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annielola annielola 11:50 pm 01 Dec 14

due to ongoing illness, i have spent about 5 months this past year at TCH with nutrition being one of the most important factors into my recovery and i have nothing bad to say about the hospital food provided there. no its not something to rave about and it lacks flavour but its hospital food, what do you expect?
ive been to other hospitals where the food is actually inedible it was that bad but on the other hand when i was at westmead the food there was pretty darn good as far as mass made commercial food goes.
but you have to think about how hard it is to prepare food for over 600 patients daily with all the special requirements going on and health codes and whatnot. we should appreciate that we get free health care and food when we are sick and injured.
if you want a safe options stick with the sandwiches, desserts, veges, salads or the in between meal snacks.
TCH food has come a long way though, a few years ago it used to be microwaved pizzas and jelly, now we have actual cooked food such as the lasagna and tuna mornay.
lets just be thankful that its edible

snoopydoc snoopydoc 12:31 am 01 May 12

“Hospital”

“Hotel”

I know they both start with an “h”, but they are very different things. Please try not to confuse one for the other.

trickyxr trickyxr 12:01 pm 18 Apr 12

trickyxr said :

I have just spent 8 days in Canberra Hospital i was nil by mouth for first day and then just ice and water for next day then clear fluids which is jelly broth, black tea or coffee and clear juice then free fluids jelly yogurt custard (the best) thicker soups white tea and coffee. So when i was actually able to eat I thout the food was great however it didnt take to many meals to realise how bad it was.The key is to order what you have liked after having it for example the mashed spud was always good as was the chicken and fish so i was told(dont eat fish) the vegies ie peas beans always yuck but bread toast desert all ok.anyway i was there as i was sick now im better thanks to doctors and nurses and i didnt die of starvation.

Oh and they only have meat balls because thats all they ordered there is always sides to pick from

trickyxr trickyxr 12:00 pm 18 Apr 12

I have just spent 8 days in Canberra Hospital i was nil by mouth for first day and then just ice and water for next day then clear fluids which is jelly broth, black tea or coffee and clear juice then free fluids jelly yogurt custard (the best) thicker soups white tea and coffee. So when i was actually able to eat I thout the food was great however it didnt take to many meals to realise how bad it was.The key is to order what you have liked after having it for example the mashed spud was always good as was the chicken and fish so i was told(dont eat fish) the vegies ie peas beans always yuck but bread toast desert all ok.anyway i was there as i was sick now im better thanks to doctors and nurses and i didnt die of starvation.

geetee geetee 9:58 am 18 Apr 12

I had an surgery at Queanbeyan nearly two years ago. My operation was in the afternoon and I was told to eat only a light breakfast (eg toast/coffee) before 9am and then ‘nil by mouth’ until after my op.

When I came to (about 7pm) the nurse brought me some food (which looked similar to the left-hand side of the OP’s picture). A pre-packed ham/cheese sandwich, an airline-style (eg very small) juice and an airline-style fruit concoction. I said to the nurse ‘when does the main course arrive?’ and she laughed sympathetically with me.

I was near starving after not having eaten properly for nearly 24 hours and worried that my grumbling stomach would keep me awake. If I had been able to get out of the bed, I probably would have attempted to wander down the cafe and see if anything was available to supplement my meal.

I suppose that’s why the nurses gave me two sedatives shortly afterwards and bid me goodnight.

If I have to go in again, I will definitely be packing some food items in my case or investigating take-away delivery options.

Darkfalz Darkfalz 5:25 am 18 Apr 12

I went to Calvary for the surgery, and stayed for the food…

p1 p1 12:34 pm 17 Apr 12

milkman said :

astrojax said :

Teglian said :

I was there about 5 years ago giving birth. Food was terrible then too. One night dinner was a slice ofprocessed ham, about 6 pineapple pieces (as in fruit salad size) & a quater cup of mash. Of course the cafe was closed. I plan on getting out ASAP for the next birth, I don’t mind saving them moneyon food.

or go to queanbeyan for birthing – excellent midwife-driven maternity suite, reasonable food (and close enough to woolies for dad to walk over and get something on which to snack) and an accredited baby-friendly hospital where you can stay in a single room with dad for a few nights… quangers gets some things very right.

+1. We used quangers hospital and it was great. Plenty of space, a room to ourselves, heaps of staff, midwives who knew what they were doing and no pressure to leave.

We used the CATCH program through TCH. The same midwife visited us at home before and after the birth, and delivered the baby. There was no pressure to leave, in fact we talked them into letting us go home…

astrojax astrojax 12:21 pm 17 Apr 12

milkman said :

astrojax said :

Teglian said :

I was there about 5 years ago giving birth. Food was terrible then too. One night dinner was a slice ofprocessed ham, about 6 pineapple pieces (as in fruit salad size) & a quater cup of mash. Of course the cafe was closed. I plan on getting out ASAP for the next birth, I don’t mind saving them moneyon food.

or go to queanbeyan for birthing – excellent midwife-driven maternity suite, reasonable food (and close enough to woolies for dad to walk over and get something on which to snack) and an accredited baby-friendly hospital where you can stay in a single room with dad for a few nights… quangers gets some things very right.

+1. We used quangers hospital and it was great. Plenty of space, a room to ourselves, heaps of staff, midwives who knew what they were doing and no pressure to leave.

and we’ll be back in the next few weeks, sometime… 🙂

milkman milkman 7:16 pm 16 Apr 12

astrojax said :

Teglian said :

I was there about 5 years ago giving birth. Food was terrible then too. One night dinner was a slice ofprocessed ham, about 6 pineapple pieces (as in fruit salad size) & a quater cup of mash. Of course the cafe was closed. I plan on getting out ASAP for the next birth, I don’t mind saving them moneyon food.

or go to queanbeyan for birthing – excellent midwife-driven maternity suite, reasonable food (and close enough to woolies for dad to walk over and get something on which to snack) and an accredited baby-friendly hospital where you can stay in a single room with dad for a few nights… quangers gets some things very right.

+1. We used quangers hospital and it was great. Plenty of space, a room to ourselves, heaps of staff, midwives who knew what they were doing and no pressure to leave.

Bramina Bramina 6:12 pm 16 Apr 12

housebound said :

The food at TCH used to be quite good. Yeah, it was bland, but it was nutritious and edible.

Things changed in about 2003 (taking the date from various hospital visits). This was about the time TCH got a new administrator and the kitchen was closed and food prep outsourced to (from memory) Goulburn prison.

So Iw oudl say it should be possible to deliver half decent food (edible but bland) at a decent price since they could do it only a decade ago.

The problem is with contractors, or more specifically the incentives in the contract.

The hospital probably pays per meal. Thus the contractor doesn’t care how good the meals are, they get paid anyway.

Perhaps a better system would be to pay them based on meals ordered, or have two kitchens competing against each other.

Maybe there is a business opportunity for someone to start delivering food to hospitals.

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 5:00 pm 16 Apr 12

Having seen the image, my dog now wants to know who has been following him about with a plate.

housebound housebound 4:21 pm 16 Apr 12

The food at TCH used to be quite good. Yeah, it was bland, but it was nutritious and edible.

Things changed in about 2003 (taking the date from various hospital visits). This was about the time TCH got a new administrator and the kitchen was closed and food prep outsourced to (from memory) Goulburn prison.

So Iw oudl say it should be possible to deliver half decent food (edible but bland) at a decent price since they could do it only a decade ago.

astrojax astrojax 3:55 pm 16 Apr 12

Teglian said :

I was there about 5 years ago giving birth. Food was terrible then too. One night dinner was a slice ofprocessed ham, about 6 pineapple pieces (as in fruit salad size) & a quater cup of mash. Of course the cafe was closed. I plan on getting out ASAP for the next birth, I don’t mind saving them moneyon food.

or go to queanbeyan for birthing – excellent midwife-driven maternity suite, reasonable food (and close enough to woolies for dad to walk over and get something on which to snack) and an accredited baby-friendly hospital where you can stay in a single room with dad for a few nights… quangers gets some things very right.

Teglian Teglian 2:59 pm 16 Apr 12

I was there about 5 years ago giving birth. Food was terrible then too. One night dinner was a slice ofprocessed ham, about 6 pineapple pieces (as in fruit salad size) & a quater cup of mash. Of course the cafe was closed. I plan on getting out ASAP for the next birth, I don’t mind saving them moneyon food.

mendoza mendoza 2:54 pm 16 Apr 12

#firstworldproblems

quewastaken quewastaken 2:40 pm 16 Apr 12

Thumper said :

It’s a hospital, not a restaurant.

The food is edible and keeps you alive.

I see no problem.

I was in TCH last year for a throat operation. Upon reading my chart (that said something along the lines of soft foods only) I was given a stale sandwich, warm juice and and apple. I wouldn’t have complained if I had a broken leg or something that didn’t effect my ability to eat but I was really hungry and couldn’t eat anything supplied to me. I made this known to the nurse on duty though a series of grunts and whines which got me a pad and pen to write on, when a new meal was brought back it was a different stale sandwich and warm juice. The juice was painful but delicious.

When I was visited by a family member an hour or so later and they found out I had been given two meals I couldn’t eat they went and found a head nurse and in about 2 minutes flat I had some lovely mush to eat.

Moral of the story: Hospital food sucks but nothing will ever change, next time I go in I’ll be planning in advance outside sources of food

mezza76 mezza76 2:32 pm 16 Apr 12

thumper109 said :

mezza76 said :

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…

Then maybe next time some stupid politician offers a tax cut for votes, they should be told “We’d rather have a better health service.”

Just a thought.

Sadly, I don’t like your chances.

As per @Weston above – there is a view that it’s all part of the service. It isn’t. It is a free taxpayer paid meal provided in order to keep you alive. I could well imagine the uproar if the Government provided a wonderful 3 course meal for all those CAT 5 patients, including junkies, drunks, and otherwise people who are admitted overnight. The Canberra Times would have a field day at the government ‘excess’.

Here’s a thought? Maybe they TCH should charge people separately for hospital meals (im sure they could then outsource this to a catering company who could make some money)? How would people like that? The Medicare Act only provides for free medical care, not free meals.

As a society we’ve got 3 options:
* Pay more tax
* Have a user pays system / user chargers
* Have less service

So what is it?

thumper109 thumper109 1:58 pm 16 Apr 12

mezza76 said :

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…

Then maybe next time some stupid politician offers a tax cut for votes, they should be told “We’d rather have a better health service.”

Just a thought.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:44 pm 16 Apr 12

Anyone else remember when KFC delivered? It’s a perfect solution!

Watson Watson 1:20 pm 16 Apr 12

p1 said :

Thumper said :

The food is edible and keeps you alive.

Not if you don’t eat it.

Touche!

And those coming here with the old and tired “don’t whinge about a free service” argument, the staff still get paid and it is no excuse for them doing such a mediocre job. Especially as good nutrition could arguably be an important part of some patients’ recovery, if not for the physical influence, then for the mental. Getting really bad food put in front of you every day is downright depressing. As if being in hospital isn’t depressing enough.

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