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Good Hospital Food

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Good hospital food campaign


Together We Can Do Good Hospital Food 

- The James Martin Formula to Improve Hospital Food

 - Campaign News

-  News Releases

- Articles and other information 

- Campaign Tee Shirts

 - Thank You


Together We Can Do... Good Hospital Food





An infographic illustrating how the community can work together to improve nutrition in hospitals.


The James Martin Formula to Improve Hospital Food

by Judith Morrison

Having watched some of the BBC's Operation Hospital Food with James Martin, I think the work he did over four years has produced the formula any hospital can use to provide patients with economical, nourishing, enjoyable food.

The biggest obstacle to overcome is the bureaucratic system in which hospital food has become embedded.

So first I will list the main points I've learnt from James Martin, which I'm calling The James Martin Formula. Then I will list the people connected with hospital food. Thirdly, there will brief paragraphs about the key elements of the formula and the people. Finally I will call on the people to come together and use the Formula to improve food for patients at the RDE Hospital. It can be done.

THE JAMES MARTIN FORMULA to improve hospital food.
I think there are eight key elements to the formula which are:-

Profitable public restaurant
Hospital restaurant serves same food as patients eat
A kitchen
Motivated catering staff
Use/make healthy food that patients, staff & visitors enjoy eating
Limit menu to a weekly cycle
Good procurement
Reduce waste

Change cannot happen without PEOPLE. Who are the people who together can improve hospital food. Here's my suggestion:-
Hospital management
Catering Managers and staff
Nursing and other ward staff
The patients
The public in the hospital catchment area
Local businesses connected with food

James' Hospital Food Blueprint (1) is a resource to draw on.
"After working with the catering teams in a number of hospitals for my series Operation Hospital Food, I began to realise that although no two hospitals – or the challenges they face - are the same, there is still a core set of factors which most will typically have in common."

At the RDE the starting point probably is the Oasis Restaurant. Is it profitable? Does it serve economical, healthy, nourishing enjoyable food? There is a kitchen (according to the Hospital's website). It probably serves the Oasis, but can it also be used to improve patient food?

"A prime example of this was at the Royal Free in London, where we introduced freshly made soups and salads to compliment their cook-chill system. The soups and salads go up to the wards and are also sold in the restaurant helping to turn a profit. It was a bit more work for the kitchen, but no extra cost – and the feedback from the patients and staff was well worth it!"

Having a weekly menu and ensuring procurement is right maybe what keeps the catering services within budget. Again James Martin offers advice, and a reminder, "One of the most complicated issues I’ve faced while working within the NHS is the procurement process - where and who you can buy food from. Every hospital will have an ‘Approved Supplier List’, which has had the appropriate checks and certificates to be able to supply the NHS.
The problem is that in my experience these suppliers don’t always offer the best prices or quality of product. Also, food could be coming from all over the country – sometimes the world!

Involving local business can improve the quality of food and boost the local economy.

'Change? No, not more change'. Maybe a thought some at the Hospital may have initially when they first hear about the desire to improve food for patients at the RDE.

But take heart, David Sloman of the Royal Free Hospital, London is quoted (2) as saying, "It also united our workforce, bringing together multi-disciplinary professionals from the ward, nursing teams and matrons, dieticians, speech and language therapists, facilities team and caterers who were determined to make this work. Our patients are delighted with the options and now regard the menu items as much tastier and easier on the palate."

The starting point is to ask the Hospital to engage with a group representing patients and public living in the RDE Hospital's catchment area, who are supporting Improve Hospital Food.

The RDE is an NHS Foundation Trust. There is an extract from their website in Appendix 1 below. Local people, patients and staff can apply to be members of the Trust and elect the Governors. Perhaps those supporting Improve Hospital Food can raise the issue with their area Governor.

Operation Hospital Food shows the lengths James Martin went to to engage Mangers, chefs and other staff. But he did achieve some good results. But with the support of the local people and co-operation of management, together we can improve hospital food. It will not be achieved overnight, but it can and will be done.

All hospital food has to be approved by dieticians. On Hospital Food Blueprint (1) are recipes that have been approved by Members of the British Dietetic Association.

Thank you for reading this

Please support  The Campaign to Improve Hospital Food

From the hospital website accessed 26/3/15

"4. So what is different about being an NHS Foundation Trust?

Local people, patients and staff can become members of the RD&E NHS Foundation Trust and elect their representatives to the council of governors who are expected to hold the board of directors to account for their performance.

Organisations such Clinical Commissioning Groups (which have taken over from Primary Care Trusts) and local authorities also have representatives on the council of governors, but the majority of the governors are elected from among local people.

The council of governors works with the board of directors (Executive and Non-executive) advising on forward plans and helping to develop the strategy for the NHSFT that best suits the needs of local people.

5. What are the benefits to patients?

NHS Foundation Trusts have much greater scope to improve local services and respond to local needs and priorities. Members and governors can directly represent the views of local people on these matters."


(1) James Martin's Hospital Blueprint

(2) James Martin - cook-chill-freeze

Unless otherwise attributed, all quotes above in italics are by James Martin.
March '15

Campaign News

July 2015  Good Hospital Food campaign jingle released

News Releases

1. Good Hospital Food campaign launched July 2015



Devon residents are being asked to support a local campaign to improve food at the RD&E Hospital, inspired by celebrity chef James Martin’s BBC series “Operation Hospital Food”.

Local campaign group “Veggie Hospitals” originally set out to lobby the RD&E to broaden the range of healthy options for vegetarians, vegans and other dietary groups, but is now looking beyond and promoting the James Martin formula which enables hospitals to offer nutritious, locally-sourced food for everyone.

Campaign leader Judith Morrison explains “We started Veggie Hospitals because non-meat eaters end up with very limited menu options at the RDE hospital. Budget restraints are usually given as the reason for this, but we are certain it is possible to create a sustainable business model for hospital food, by re-imagining the way menus are designed, and engaging local produce suppliers.

The James Martin formula dovetails with Veggie Hospitals’ aims. The TV chef is adamant that budget restraints are not a bar to good, nutritious food being available in hospitals, and that such food is essential for getting better. Patients, staff and visitors would all eat from the same menu, whether on the wards or in the hospital restaurant. Food would be freshly prepared on site, and the hospital restaurant would be profitable. Additional savings could be made through ensuring best procurement and minimal waste.

The campaign’s vision for a win-win solution to the hospital food dilemma also suggests re-imagining the way menus are designed: “It could actually be cheaper and more nutritious for hospitals to offer a plant-based menu of tasty, nutritious, comforting food as the core menu, with additional options of good-quality meat, fish and dairy for those who want them.”

“People with specific food requirements would have all their nutritional needs met as standard, and meat-lovers would enjoy a higher quality of meat in their meals.”

The project has the support and backing of the Hospital Catering Association, and Exeter’s Friends for Animals, and has received interest and encouragement from dozens of local community leaders, groups and businesses via its Twitter account @VeggieHospitals and Facebook page.

She continues: “Local providers would be important in providing great food at a reasonable cost. The RD&E's catchment area is one of England's top regions for producing great food. We’re working to bring local farmers, suppliers and caterers together to develop menus that would suit all dietary requirements. Using local produce would help boost the local economy”

Judith goes further: “Food in hospitals sometime seems to be managed as a housekeeping issue rather than a medical one. But the rise of obesity, heart disease and diabetes shows that poor nutrition is a medical issue Hospital food should be an important part of treatment provision, not a bolt-on service.”

Andy Jones, Immediate Past Chair of the Hospital Catering Association, agrees: "Food is the best form of medicine".




for adults and children can be ordered from watteva in Exeter (01392-824880).

Anne and Dan are seen here modelling the adult size tee shirts which have the campaign logo, words of the campaign jingle and url printed on the front. The tee shirts are yellow. Adult sizes are S, M, L, XL & XXL.

The tee shirts for children are also yellow and have the carrot logo printed on the front, but do not have any words on them. They are available in sizes 5-6 years, 7-8 years and 9-11 years.

Prices are £3.50 for childrens sizes and £4.50 plus VAT for adult sizes, plus p&p if not collecting From watteva. Check prices and postage charges before ordering.



Adult tee shirts

Thank You

Special thanks to the following for their support and help with the campaign

  • Starlite Cheerleaders Exeter, for cheerleading, photos and YouTube clips.
  • Clients, staff and management of Platinum Living Devon for their performance and recordings of the campaign jingle.
  • Dan Cahill for his technical work in creating the campaign jingle.