100 hospital staff complain about food in canteens

NHS Lothian staff are complaining about the standard of food they are served. Picture: Gareth Easton
NHS Lothian staff are complaining about the standard of food they are served. Picture: Gareth Easton

ALMOST 100 hospital staff across NHS Lothian have complained about the quality of their food – with a ward nurse saying she had found a hair in her pie.

The ward nurse in question dug out a hair from her steak and ale pie in February 2013.

Less than two weeks later another hair was reported in a shepherd’s pie.

In June this year, a staff member complained that her lamb rogan josh was too small, and as a result was given a free meal.

The statistics reveals that since 2010, NHS Lothian has received 97 complaints from members of staff regarding food.

In comparison, NHS Grampian said they had received one complaint from a member of staff in the past five years.

Over-boiled macaroni, hairy shepherd’s pie, and a syrup sponge that “tasted of Marmite” are among the catering grievances lodged by health workers across Scotland.

NHS Tayside gave details of 20 formal staff complaints about food which it has investigated in the past five years.

In March 2010, a nurse complained the “lentils were too hard and vegetable burgers tough” in her meal.

The kitchen supervisor agreed to “look into the cooking time for lentils”.

One month later, there was another complaint the macaroni was “overboiled, sloppy and tasteless” and the lasagne was “over-seasoned with artificial taste”.

In 2012, a nurse complained the potatoes were “bright yellow” and the “pastry was not cooked properly on vegetable quiche”. In both instances, the kitchen supervisor agreed to “look into this”.

Two years later, a nurse was upset with her lemon mousse dessert, complaining that it was “inedible as was like a milkshake”.

It was discovered the reason for this was because “the ice pack had been forgotten when the dessert was put on the trolley”.

However, just two months later, another nurse complained the same mousse “had the consistency of water”.

The most bizarre complaint was made in 2010 by a member of staff, who said their syrup sponge “tasted like Marmite”.

The kitchen supervisor described the complaint as “unusual” and suggested that “something had happened in transit... perhaps gravy or something similar had spilled on to it”.

In April, a nurse at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary found a “very poor lunch selection” with “no soup left... and the fish mornay had very little fish left in it”.

Scotland’s remaining 11 health boards claimed complaints by staff about food had only been made verbally and had not been logged. The biggest, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said there had been no formal complaints from staff about quality of food.

An NHS spokesman said, “Thousands of meals are prepared every day across sites and the catering department receives very positive feedback from patients and staff. The small number of complaints is testament to the hard work of our catering staff who prepare nutritionally balanced meals and cater for very specific dietary requirements.” NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have stripped £1 million from catering.