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Food in Hospitals news

Food First

The campaign to promote a Food First approach to improving the nutritional status of patients focuses on making sure that all patients receive the right meals and snacks throughout the day and that simple dietary changes are adopted to help reduce the number of patients who lose weight during their hospital stay.

This includes:

  • Highlighting higher calorie meal choices to patients who are nutritionally vulnerable
  • Routine use of ward provisions such as bread, cereals, biscuits, milk and drinks out with mealtimes for all patients
  • Additional snacks encouraging patients to eat small portions regularly throughout the day when they have a poor appetite
  • Regular provision of fresh water and drinks.

The Food First approach aims to increase the number of opportunities that patients have to access food and drinks through regular enquiry and prompting using care rounding, AHP interventions, tea rounds as well as mealtimes.

The campaign features a series of food, fluid and nutrition Myth Busters across NHSGGC website and social media platforms. There is also a series of branded supporting materials such as posters/materials for use by staff on wards.

Everyone has a role to play in keeping our patients hydrated and nourished so we aim to make Food First the easy option for staff, visitors and patients.

Electronic ordering

NHSGGC has been trialling a new way of taking patient meal orders. By using an electronic tablet we can take your meal order just a few hours before your mealtime. This means that you can choose your meal based on what your appetite is like at that time and not a couple of meals before. The trial, which is underway in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, has led to better patient satisfaction by ensuring people get what they would like to eat and is also helping the environment by cutting down on food waste. This way of meal ordering will be rolled out to other sites over the next year.

Tasting sessions

Hospital food sometimes has an undeserved poor reputation. As part of ongoing recipe development work we have been holding staff and public tasting sessions. The sessions have allowed us to meet with staff groups, our patients and visitors, allowing them to taste our new recipes and some old favourites, and get feedback on taste and meal quality. The sessions have taken place at Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Care Centre, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children. The feedback from the tasting sessions has been very positive.

Public partners

We are working with a group of public partners to help guide improvements in catering. These are people who have used health services themselves or have experience of it through a friend or relative. The eight public partners have all visited the cook freeze production unit at Inverclyde Royal Hospital as well as carrying out audits of the meal service on a number of our wards.

Health Facilities Scotland Innovation award

NHSGGC catering was presented with this award for work to improve catering services for patients. Within the last 12 months catering managers have implemented an Improving Mealtimes Experience Care Bundle. This includes a standard operating procedure for meal service, daily meal observations and daily patient feedback.  Health Facilities Scotland thought this daily review of the service which allows managers to spot where improvements are required and put solutions in place immediately was an innovative way to improve services within catering.


As part of our ongoing menu review we invited representatives from Quorn™ into our cook freeze production units to advise us on some new recipes for our vegetarian service users. We worked with their home economist to develop three recipes which are now on our menu:

  • Quorn™ Korma
  • Quorn™ Cottage Pie
  • Quorn™ Chilli.