Linda Fabiani MSP has criticised the Labour Party for turning the ‘Dish up Better Grub campaign’ into a photo opportunity that could backfire on Hairmyres patients.
Linda hit out after a visit to the hospital ended with Margaret McCulloch, Labour regional MSP, complimenting the standard of food based on a single meal and discussions with NHS managers and a small number of patients.
Linda said “Commenting on the food at Hairmyres based on a single pre-announced visit was not a helpful contribution to this important campaign. This is not the first time Labour has done this, and it is certainly not the way to ensure that the food quality improves.
“In a national patient survey, patients across NHS Lanarkshire rated the quality of food as worse than last year and significantly worse than elsewhere in Scotland.
“In light of these clear findings, I was disappointed to see NHS managers preferring to rely on their own in-house assessment. The findings of the national survey are not a one-off and appear to represent a real gap in quality of experience.
“I was very concerned at the comments of patient Anthony Marshall, who has spent seven weeks in Hairmyres, and who said he sometimes struggled to find something he wants to eat. Long-term patients must receive nutritional food that they are prepared to eat, and despite the hard work and commitment of staff on site at the hospital, the current situation is certainly not ideal.
“Even if the terms of the PFI procurement of Hairmyres hospital have created obstacles to improvement, and don’t allow, as stated by NHS Lanarkshire, adequate kitchen facilities onsite, the Board must ensure that contractors can’t rely on long-term contracts to get away with delivering a poor standard of service.
“I will continue to monitor the consistently poor assessment of the food served to Hairmyres patients, and I know that the East Kilbride News will continue the ‘Dish up Better Grub’ Campaign.”
Note: In both the 2010 and 2011 Inpatient Surveys conducted across Scotland, the proportion of patients giving a positive rating to the food in NHS Lanarkshire hospitals (51% positive in 2010, and 48% in 2011), was 19% below the Scottish average.