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I'm issuing a challenge to the NSW Health Minister. The food I saw being served to my brother-in-law in hospital was truly shocking -- so can the Minister of Health live off hospital food being served in her own public hospitals?

My brother-in-law Paul is suffering from small cell lung cancer. The diagnosis has devastated Paul, his partner, our whole family. We're all doing everything we can do care for him. Everything. So why is the hospital giving him food that is not nutritious, unappetizing, and actually hindering his progress?

"I was given food which not only tasted repulsive but made me feel sicker than I already was, every day was offered pre-packaged processed desserts, custards, Arnotts biscuits, white bread and instant potato which made me constipated."

The food in our hospitals is severely lacking in basic nutrition. It's highly processed and contains artificial chemicals, preservatives and additives as well as inflammatory refined sugars and refined salt. Something needs to be done so Paul and other patients' recovery isn't ever impeded like this.

I'm challenging the NSW Minister of Health Jillian Skinner live off hospital food for 4 days-- the average length of hospital stay in NSW. Find out first-hand what patients are presented with, show us you understand the importance of giving patients nutritious, healthy food.

If there is anyone in our society who should know the importance of good food and nutrition it is those in charge of our health service. The failure to provide nutritious, appetizing, unprocessed food in NSW Public Hospitals is indefensible and will cost the government more in the long run.

It is my hope that the outcome of the challenge would be that a review is conducted on the current NSW public hospital food policy.

  • An immediate review of public hospital food policy

  • New mandatory standards for nutritional content

  • A 20% reduction in the use of processed and packaged foods

  • A 20% increase in the use of fresh fruit and vegetables

  • One meal per day to be fresh and unprocessed

To keep up to date on the campaign please like my facebook page www.facebook.com/ImproveNSWhospitalfood.

Letter to
NSW Health Minister The Hon. Jillian Skinner MP
Improve the food in NSW Hospitals

Hospital meals should have compulsory nutritional standards. Currently the food which is being served in NSW public hospitals is severely lacking in nutrition, highly processed and contains health impeding artificial chemicals, preservatives and additives as well as inflammatory refined sugars and refined salt.

There is growing evidence that good nutrition not only helps patients recover faster, but can also relieve the symptoms of some diseases, and also improve the effectiveness of some medication. For example, there are links between diet and depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. There are also links between diet and cancer/tumor growth.

I was shocked and horrified to discover the diabolical state of the food being offered in NSW public hospitals when I recently visited my brother-in-law Paul who is suffering from small cell lung cancer. He spent 23 days in a NSW public hospital from 5th March to 27th March 2013.

Paul’s typical breakfast was powdered eggs, white roll and cornflakes. Morning tea was a package of Arnotts biscuits, lunch and dinner involved white bread with trans-fat butter substitute sachet, soup so salty that affected his sodium levels, frozen vegetables and microwaved crumbed meat and was always accompanied by a sugar filled processed desert and processed juice with additional sugar and additives. The food was unappetizing and not nutritionally sustaining, it was salt and sugar ladened and 100 % processed.

I believe that serving fresh and nutritious hospital food is vital to improving patient health, particularly after patients have undergone medical procedures. Changing the food in NSW public hospitals doesn’t have to be at great expense. Research has been conducted in the United Kingdom by the Soil Association which shows that changing hospital food and providing nutritious food is achievable. For a copy of the report click here: http://bit.ly/116f8Jx

In the Soil Association report “One hospital saved £6 million a year by cooking with fresh, local ingredients; another sources yoghurt from a local supplier for two thirds of the price of the nationally approved supplier”.

Also in the United Kingdom, a recent national review conducted by Deloitte found that local and seasonal food did not generally cost more, and can cost less and save hospitals money.

If there is anyone in our society who should know the importance of good food and nutrition it is those in charge of our health service. The failure to provide nutritious, appetizing, unprocessed food in NSW Public Hospitals is indefensible and will cost the government more in the long run.

What I would like to see come out of this petition:

I challenge the NSW Minister for Health The Hon. Jillian Skinner to eat hospital food for 4 days which is the average length of stay in a NSW hospital so that she can discover first-hand what patients are presented with.

It is my hope that the outcome of the challenge would be that a review is conducted on the current NSW public hospital food policy.

An independent survey to be conducted across key NSW public hospitals to ask people what their experiences of the food are and whether it is nutritious and in accordance with their own medical conditions and special diets.

NSW Government to take an innovative and effective approach to improving hospital food, including new mandatory standards for nutritional content based on the Australian standards for patients meals.

Hospitals should be made accountable to improve transparency and patient accountability by publishing information on their websites about the quality of food provided in their hospitals. This information should include measures of patient satisfaction, the food budget per patient per day and any independent verification of standards.

A noticeable change in the way hospital food is sourced locally, produced, prepared, cooked and served in a way that will benefit patients not be detrimental to their health.

A 20% reduction in the use of processed and packaged foods for patient meals in NSW hospitals.

A 20% increase in the use of fresh fruit and vegetables for patient meals NSW hospitals.

One meal per day to be fresh and unprocessed.