Patient food at Suffolk hospital wins national prize

(L  R) hospital catering manager Broderick Pooley, butcher Eric Goodridge, from Erics Prime Cuts, head cook Steve Landells and assistant head cook Luke Nobbs.
(L  R) hospital catering manager Broderick Pooley, butcher Eric Goodridge, from Erics Prime Cuts, head cook Steve Landells and assistant head cook Luke Nobbs.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has received a prized national accolade for its dedication to serving fresh, ethical and sustainable food to patients, visitors and staff.

The hospital has been presented with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark bronze award for the meals it serves on the wards and in the Courtyard Café and Time Out restaurant.

Every day the hospital freshly prepares around 350 breakfasts, 500 lunches and 500 suppers for patients, along with 60 sandwiches and snacks.

The award shows that the hospital uses fresh ingredients which meet nutritional guidelines and are free from additives and harmful trans-fats. All of the meat used by the hospital conforms with UK animal welfare standards and has earned the ‘Red Tractor’ farm assurance quality mark, while fish is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and eggs are free range.

To achieve the award, the hospital’s catering team reviewed its recipes and changed some of its ingredients, such as swapping milk powder for fresh milk in its cauliflower cheese. They also worked with their butcher to change the seasoning in their sausages, while increasing the meat content of the sausage rolls which are sold to staff so that they now contain over 80% pork.

Brodrick Pooley, catering manager at the hospital, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this bronze award, which recognises our dedication to serving fresh, ethical and sustainable food across our wards and in our restaurants.

“We use local suppliers for our ingredients wherever possible, which means we can trace all of the meat we use from the farm right to the plate. As well as being better for the environment and more sustainable, we believe this also gives us higher quality products, which means we can create tastier, more nutritious meals which help our patients’ recovery.

“We regularly receive excellent feedback about the quality of food we offer at West Suffolk Hospital, but are always looking for ways to improve still further. We are now planning to build on the success of this bronze award by working towards a gold accolade in the near future.”

The latest award comes shortly after the hospital became the first organisation to receive a gold “Eat Out, Eat Well” accolade from St Edmundsbury Borough Council in recognition of the healthier choices it offers.

Rich Watts, senior catering mark manager, Soil Association Certification, said: “The Catering Mark is the result of lots of dedicated effort by the team at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Receiving this endorsement is an exceptional achievement in the healthcare sector and a demonstration of the hospital’s dedication to serving fresh, ethical, sustainable food that meets nutritional guidelines. Healthy places must be serving food that is good for the environment and good for us.”