THE COOMBE MATERNITY hospital has completed a review of its menu and is now offering healthier options to patients after a photo of a meal served to a woman in the hospital was brought to its attention by TheJournal.ie earlier this year.
Last January, an image sent by a reader through Twitter, showed a plate of overcooked wedges and a sausage roll, that had been served to a woman in one of the maternity wards.
In a recent statement, the hospital said its attention was “drawn to a photograph of one of our hospital meals on the website of ‘The Journal’” and an immediate review had been launched.
This review has now been completed and the new menu has been in place for a number of months. Speaking about the process, dietician at the hospital Fiona Dunleavy said she was “as surprised as anyone” on first viewing the photograph.
“The reason given was that they were a popular choice with young mums but I said: “popular or not, they’re not healthy”", she said.
Guidelines for maternity hospitals
Dunleavy explained that there is no specific set of guidelines for food in maternity hospitals as most of the patients are only there for a short period of time.
So we set about analysing the nutritional content and found that the food itself was adequate , it wasn’t excessive in calories but the fat content was high.o we set about changing that, for example, for tea, which was the meal in that photo, we always have a choice of salad but the other option now, rather than one potentially high in fat, is generally a pasta or rice dish that is still appetising for mums.
Fruit is now one of the dessert options, milk is offered with meals and a salad choice is available twice a day. Soda bread, salads and desserts are all made in-house, and the meat, salmon and chicken breasts served to all patients are bought in fresh.
“There are some changes I would have liked to see but you have to think of the cost to the taxpayer, like we do offer salmon once a week, but I wanted it to be offered twice,” she said. “It’s not a popular choice and you have to think of the food waste.”
As part of the review, staff on wards and anyone who looks after patients’ food have been given education to ensure they are familiar with hospital standards.
The hospital is currently conducting a survey with patients to assess their responses to the new menu. “I’ll be interested to see what the patients think,” Dunleavy said.