The patient catering department at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has quadrupled in size as part of a £3.5million improvement programme.
The team has grown from 50 to more than 200 members of staff with the introduction of new food service assistants (FSAs), who started work at Worthing Hospital over the summer. The FSAs now
deliver food and drinks to patients in a new way, which sees meals plated on the ward instead of in the main kitchens.
Meals have been served in this way at St Richard’s Hospital for many years, but, until now, at Worthing they have been served by housekeepers or hostesses, managed by nursing teams.
The change has been made as part of the trust’s Patient Catering improvement programme.
Head of catering Tony Shea said: “I am so proud of our FSAs who started their new roles at Worthing and St Richard’s. This has been a big change for many of these colleagues and they’re doing a superb job. As part of the patient catering team, they will now receive more specialist support to help us ensure the food service we provide to patients is the very best it can be.”
The FSAs join colleagues from the trust kitchens, chefs, general assistants, storemen, team leaders and managers to create a much stronger catering service for the trust.
David McLaughlin, the trust’s interim director of Estates and Facilities, said: “We’re very proud to of the new service we have designed because it is much more suited to our patients’ needs, putting them and their wellbeing first.
“Our new menu, which will be introduced before Christmas, has been jointly developed by the trust’s patient catering, dietetic, nursing and therapies teams to offer significantly more choice for
lunch and supper, as well as an all-day grazing and snack menu.
“We’re moving away from the traditional two-week rolling menu, with only four choices per day, to a system where any patient can choose any one of 20 main courses, on any day. This is excellent news for patients who will benefit from the many new healthy and nutritious options.”
The food will be freshly cooked at a new catering production unit at St Richard’s Hospital, then frozen and regenerated to be served piping hot on the wards in Worthing and Chichester.