Action needed now over poor food in hospital

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To the editor,

Having spent the last month along with other family providing food for a sibling who was a patient in the Aberdeen Hospital, it took me a few days to cool my jets before I wrote this letter.

I was appalled at the food offered, meal after meal. The cream of wheat could be used for wallpaper glue, the scrambled eggs were small pieces of what could be described as yellow rubber, the toast was soggy and the “broth” was basically a cup of water with some type of flavouring – whatever flavour you thought it might be. The potatoes, I am sure, are the pre-packaged flakes reconstituted with water and frozen, the peas looked like they were mashed, put into moulds and frozen to make them look like the real thing until they thawed and turned into mush. The ground meat, be it chicken, pork or beef, covered with gravy all tasted the same. Yuk!

I saw patients refusing altogether or eating crackers and desserts – they had to eat something. I tried to eat a meal brought to my family member and almost gagged.

Is it true this crap is trucked from Ontario frozen then heated up? Is this the same at all hospitals in Nova Scotia? If so, shame on all who had anything to do with it.

Have you any idea how much flak the staff takes over the food? It is not their fault, and they’re not supposed to comment. Do you realize how much is thrown out? And this is saving money?

Reading the Health Authority information package, it states: “We work together to improve services and achieve healthier people and communities.” Really! Feeding sick people in hospitals, elderly people in nursing homes and the veterans who fought for our freedom this excuse for meals is not acceptable. Trying to save money at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens is morally wrong, disgraceful and disgusting.

There must be other areas to cut costs where defenseless citizens are not deprived of a basic necessity of life. Are all out-of-country conferences necessary? Is putting millions of dollars into failing businesses that fold in a few months saving money?

I hope none of you or your loved ones are subjected to this poor food any time soon – me included. I am one of the fortunate ones – I have family. Not everyone does. I worked a lot of years in several hospitals both in nursing and administration and have never experienced such dissatisfaction over the meals. This has to improve and requires action now.

Edith C. Hiscock

New Glasgow

Organizations: Aberdeen Hospital, Health Authority

Geographic location: Ontario, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Stellarton Senior
    February 04, 2013 - 07:28

    There have been quite a few rants about the quality of food at hospitals of late. Personally, I have only had a couple of short stays in the past few years & haven't had any complaints about the food. A family recently spent about a week as a patient. Again, no complaints about food quality. What is interesting about all the comments is the fact nobody complains about the price. As I understand it, our provincial government is responsible for delivery of healthcare, including feeding patients. That same government has cut app. 4 million dollars from the local budget in the last while. Is it possible the health authority had to make some hard choices? Maybe they had to compromise on the food as opposed to laying people of or cutting services. I don't know for sure and I'm only putting that out there for thought. If people really feel the need to complain, perhaps it is time to ask Darrell's three Pictou County muskateers what their thoughts are. Hasn't anyone noticed how quiet they have been through all this? Personally, I am laying any blame at their feet and if they are brave enough to call an election (they have been jamming it to us for 4 years this June) then I will voice my opinion at the polling booth & my opinion will reflect who I believe is responsible for cuts to all areas of healthcare.

  • john mac
    February 01, 2013 - 18:16

    i hear you and understand the conditions, administration should be made to show all the total gross intake yearly that is taken in and amount spent.

  • Johnny smoke
    February 01, 2013 - 08:18

    Oh I think that it is a bit of a stretch to compare hospital food with what can be prepared at home. Try cooking for 3 to 5 hundred in your kitchen, maybe then you will get some inkling of the magnitude involved. I have had the pleasure of dining on hospital food in the recent past, and while it certainly cannot compare with home cooked meals it is not in the same league. My beef with this whole excise is the hypocrisy of the whole supply and management of the food system. We have in the paper daily the smiling face of our Pictou center MLA pleading with us to "Buy local" when as we speak large trucks are off loading pre packaged, pre cooked meals at our hospital and nursing homes. Who runs the health authority or are they a self governing body answerable to no one? Finally when is the last time your really enjoyed a TV dinner? I rest my case.

    • Kolenya
      February 02, 2013 - 21:45

      Whole heartedly agree with Edith C. Hiscock's letter. The people of our community must be more vocal on important matters such as this or sadly, the status quo will remain the same at Aberdeen Hospital. FYI .... As per the PCHA website, the Pictou County Health Authority is governed by a 12-member board of directors. These volunteers come from varied backgrounds and are committed to ensuring the delivery of quality and effective health care services to the residents of Pictou County and northeastern Nova Scotia. {At present these are 10 of the 12 member board of directors, as shown on the PCHA website}. Board members: Murray Hill, Chair, Pictou; Linda Muir, Stellarton; Norman Lord, Chance Harbour; Joseph Whalen, New Glasgow; Howard McNutt, New Glasgow; Travis Gunn, Scotsburn; Bonnie Linkletter, Pictou; JanetteSears, MacLellans Brook; Paul Beesley, Stellarton and James Shaw, New Glasgow. Membership of all district health authority boards in Nova Scotia including that of the Pictou County Health Authority is set forth in the Health Authorities Act. The act requires that two-thirds of the members are appointed by the Minister of Health from a list of names submitted by the community health board nominating committee in each district. {CHB Nominating Committee; c/o Eileen MacIsaac, Director of Public Relations, Pictou County Health Authority, 835 East River Road, New Glasgow, NS B2H 3S6. Fax: (902)752-6231; E-mail: eileen.macisaac@pcha.nshealth.ca}. The remaining one-third of the members are appointed by the Minister of Health from among persons sending their expression of interest to the Executive Council Office. There are several committees of the board that support the board in fulfilling its mandate. The committees include: Governance Committee; CHB Liaison Committee; Audit Committee; Joint Conference Committee; Privileges Review Committee; Patient Safety/Quality/Risk Committee and Human Resources Committee.