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Food in hospitals

Information about food in hospitals (English language version)

Alternative language versions

Your mealtime experience is important to us

If you would like to tell us anything about your meals, including your likes and dislike please speak to Nursing staff as soon as possible. The sooner we understand your needs then the sooner we can contact the catering team who will be happy to help.

We regularly ask for feedback about our meal service. From time to time we may ask you to complete a questionnaire. If you would prefer you can use the feedback form in the Information about Food and Health in Hospital leaflet which is available from Nursing staff.

If you require this information in an accessible format, such as large print or braille, or in a community language, please ask ward staff.

Help and assistance with eating

Nursing staff will check to see if you require help with eating and drinking. They will be happy to help you cut up food, open packets or may stay with you to help you eat and drink.

In some wards we have ward volunteers who can make your mealtime experience easier and more comfortable. They will make sure you have everything you need, from condiments to the right cutlery, and can even spend time socialising with you. 

At NHSGGC we’re committed to providing high quality food and drink as part of your hospital visit. We constantly work to improve the range and quality of the food and drink that you will be provided with.

Hospital mealtimes

Mealtimes are an important part of the daily routine and this means, as far as possible, non-essential activity is stopped during this time.

At home, people often eat in the presence of a family member and that should be no different in hospital. Your visitor is welcome to stay with you at mealtimes.

Breakfast

Breakfast times are approximately: 7.30am – 8.30am

You will be offered a continental breakfast with tea or coffee, cereal, bread, toast (where available) and rolls.

Lunch

Lunch times are approximately: 12.00pm – 1.00pm.

Your lunch consists of three courses:

  • To start: homemade soup or fruit juice
  • To follow: A choice of sandwiches, salad or filled baked potatoes or a hot meal with vegetables and potatoes.
  • For dessert: trifle, fresh fruit, yogurt, rice pudding, jelly and ice cream or cheese and biscuits.
Evening meal

Dinner is served from 5.00pm – 6.00pm approximately.

You will be offered a choice of hot meals with vegetables and potatoes or rice plus either a hot or cold dessert.

At each mealtime there will always be a meal option for vegetarians, a healthier option and choice for those who need more calories.

Snacks

As well as your meals we have a range of drinks and snacks available at all times. This includes tea, coffee, hot chocolate, squash, bread, cereal and biscuits.

Menus

We have a cafe style menu showing your choices for the full week. Menus are available either at your bedside or in dining rooms in some of our wards.

A range of alternative menus are also available, on request, for the following diets:

  • Gluten free
  • Food allergies
  • Low Fibre/Low residue
  • Low potassium/No added salt
  • Vegan
  • Kosher
  • Halal.

It is important that you try to eat and drink as normal if you can while you are in hospital. If you have special dietary requirements we are unaware of please speak to a member of ward staff.

Further information

I just take small meals
" I just take small meals but quite nice - something different every day, quite happy."
Soup gets better every day
"Soup gets better every day. Pudding at teatime is super, thoroughly enjoyed the meal"
Always all right, nice and warm.
"Always all right, nice and warm. Good choice, not too repetitive. Like the soup – lovely, and some of the salads"
Big improvement
"Big improvement. Get what you ask for but sometimes can’t remember what was ordered yesterday"
Choice always good
"Choice always good. Is small portion wanted you get it and extras if want. Always enjoy the meals, enjoy the company"
Stewed apples lovely
"Stewed apples lovely, custard very powdery and not enough rice pudding. Great service to be served meals. Always offered seconds"
Very happy with meals
"Very happy with meals, been an in-patient two and half years"
Very happy with variety
"Very happy with variety, good service"
Very satisfied, been in a few weeks
"Very satisfied, been in a few weeks"
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Food and fluid mythbusters are part of the Food First campaign

The campaign focuses on the importance of food and drink in improving a patient’s recovery and how it can potentially lead to quicker discharge from hospital.

The information is aimed at staff, patients, visitors and family and highlights the role we can all play in patient recovery.

Our public partners

We work with a group of public partners to help guide improvements in our catering service. Our partners have all used our services either themselves or have had experience of our service through a friend or relative. Our 8 current partners have all visited the cook freeze production unit at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and now carry out regular audits of the meal service on our wards.

Each ward audit is unannounced with the public partner visiting a ward of their choice with the catering manager. Our partners use an observation tool to note down points about the meal service including food quality. They are able to recommend improvements if they see something which is not done to their standard. In addition, they ask patient opinions at every visit.

We have an annual timetable with our larger acute sites being audited by our public partners twice per year and our smaller sites at least once per year.

Here are some of the comments from our public partner audits:

  • “Bread and butter given with soup”
  • “Very impressed by service”
  • “Tried cottage pie and vegetables – was very nice”
  • “Quality of the food for service indicated it had all been regenerated on the appropriate oven shelf”.
  • “If I had not chosen the ward to visit I would have thought it had been stage managed as everything was so professionally done”
  • “This was normal service – very good”

After each audit there is a feedback session with the catering staff and the nurse in charge of the ward.

Patient feedback

You said/we did

Would like more fruit to be available

What we did: We have tried a lot of different ways of increasing fruit provision including fruit bowls in some wards.

Chips too hard

What we did: We checked the regeneration oven on the ward and cooking instructions have been reviewed

Allergy meal served in packaging and small portion

What we did: We have debated several times whether to do this or not but decided it is safer to serve in packaging.

Chips could have been warmer and a smaller portion size better

What we did: Ward service issues have been addressed with ward staff giving out the information leaflet regarding services available e.g. patients can ask for small or larger portions

Some of the comments we’ve received from patients and visitors

We want you to enjoy the food we provide and we’d welcome your feedback at any time during or after your stay.

I just take small meals
" I just take small meals but quite nice - something different every day, quite happy."
Soup gets better every day
"Soup gets better every day. Pudding at teatime is super, thoroughly enjoyed the meal"
Always all right, nice and warm.
"Always all right, nice and warm. Good choice, not too repetitive. Like the soup – lovely, and some of the salads"
Big improvement
"Big improvement. Get what you ask for but sometimes can’t remember what was ordered yesterday"
Choice always good
"Choice always good. Is small portion wanted you get it and extras if want. Always enjoy the meals, enjoy the company"
Stewed apples lovely
"Stewed apples lovely, custard very powdery and not enough rice pudding. Great service to be served meals. Always offered seconds"
Very happy with meals
"Very happy with meals, been an in-patient two and half years"
Very happy with variety
"Very happy with variety, good service"
Very satisfied, been in a few weeks
"Very satisfied, been in a few weeks"
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For general enquiries please contact:

Site specific contact details

Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre

Tom Johnston Catering Manager: 0141 211 3124 

Blythswood House 

Call: 0141 314 4254

Dykebar Hospital

Call: 0141 314 4266

Gartnavel General Hospital

Tom Johnston Catering Manager: 0141 211 3124 

Glasgow Royal Infirmary
  • Michael Lewsley Catering Manager: 0141 211 4545 (24545)
  • Margaret Smith Depute Manager: 0141 211 4189 (24189)
Inverclyde Royal Hospital

Catering Supervisors: 01475 50 4192

Langhill Unit

Call: 01475 50 4192

Larkfield Unit 

Call: 01475 50 4192

Leverndale Hospital
  • Manager: 0141 211 6409
  • Clerical: 0141 211 1391
  • Dining Room: 0141 211 6410
Orchard View

Call: 01475 50 4192

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
  • Patient catering Professional lead: 07534 228 570
  • Facilities helpdesk: 0141 354 9650
Royal Alexandra Hospital
  • Catering Manager, Douglas Mullen: 0141 314 6108
  • Supervisors office: 0141 314 6918
Stobhill Ambulatory Care Hospital 

Call: 0141 355 1690 or 0141 355 1691 

Stobhill Maternity Hospital 

Call: 0141 531 3220 or 0141 531 3221

Vale of Leven Hospital

Call: 01389 817 229

Victoria Ambulatory Care Hospital

Call: 0141 347 8712 or 0141 347 8711

We understand that many patients will want food and drinks in addition to the meals provided. It is important that visitors check with the Nursing staff if they can bring food into hospital for you.

Unsuitable food items (High risk)

  • Glass bottles or canned products or any food in tinfoil or tinned containers
  • Takeaways e.g. hamburgers, pakora, pizzas or curries
  • Fresh items such as sandwiches.

If food is brought in, it is important that it is both suitable and safe. For food hygiene reasons we ask that your visitors follow the guidance below:

  • All food must be sealed labelled with your name and the date the food was brought in
  • Once opened and not used it must be thrown away
  • Do not bring home cooked food – Ward staff cannot reheat any food
  • Do not bring food that requires to go in a fridge or freezer
  • Visitors should only bring food in for you and not for others
  • Only a small amount of suitable food should be brought in.

Note: Some wards may have other items that are unsuitable due to the patient’s medical condition, e.g. swallowing difficulties. Therefore please check with staff about what is allowed.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde does not accept any responsibility for any food that is prepared and purchased outside our facilities.

Further information is available in our Food and Health in Hospitals booklet

Document cover showing staff member assisting older patient to eat

Preparation

We have 2 large Cook Freeze Production Units (CFPU’s) where we prepare, cook and freeze the majority of your meals. Our own NHS catering staff work in these CFPU’s. The units are based at Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

Our chefs use fresh ingredients when preparing and cooking your meals.

Once cooked, the meals are blast frozen using specialised freezing equipment. This ensures they are frozen without destroying the nutritional content.

The frozen meals are then heated and plated in small kitchens beside the wards so you get a hot, well presented and tasty meal.

Nutrition

We cater for a wide range of ages. This includes children to the very oldest of our population, and for people who require special diets.

It is important that we meet the nutritional needs of everyone in our hospitals and all our meals are nutritionally analysed by a dietitian.

The NHS Scotland Food in Hospitals National Catering and Nutrition Specification sets out in detail what we need to provide for our patients. The specification gives guidance on how many calories, how much protein, fat and carbohydrate and the essential vitamins and minerals required. NHSGGC complies with this specification.

Our chef’s follow tried and tested recipes. This ensures our dishes are prepared and produced exactly the same way each and every time.

Traceability

We purchase our food and drinks as part of the NHS Scotland National Procurement Framework of approved catering suppliers. Each supplier must meet strict standards including nutritional guidelines and food safety. Every item purchased is fully traceable and protects our patients, staff and visitors.

Where possible we ask for local food producers and suppliers to be approved by National Procurement. Our fresh fish supplier is a Glasgow based company.

Tasting Roadshows

We test our recipes at tasting roadshows held around our hospitals sites. This gives members of the public, patients and staff a chance to try out our food. We have had excellent feedback from our roadshows.