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Hospital introduces a la carte menu

Patients at Darlington Memorial Hospital are now able to choose from an a la carte menu which is offering more quality and choice when it comes to mealtimes and which has reduced waste for the catering department by over 9%.

The a la carte menu was introduced at the hospital back in November 2010 as a pilot scheme on the maternity wards. Working with patients and staff on the wards, the catering department had identified some issues around restricted times for ordering meals, portion size and waste. The pilot scheme was so successful that it is now being rolled out across all wards in the hospital.

Stuart Wray, Head of Catering said: "We were finding on the maternity ward that it was such a fast turn over of patients that the old system wasn't working as efficiently as we thought it could. So working with patients and staff we designed a new a la carte menu which includes a much more varied choice but which is also designed around catering for the needs of a short stay patient. Meals can be ordered without such a long lead in time and there are standardised portions. We're delivering an excellent standard of food and have received very positive feedback. Since the new menu was introduced we also reduced our waste by 9%.

"Following the success of the pilot scheme we're now rolling out the menu to all of the wards in the hospital, each ward will have its own menu which has been tailored to suit the patients of that ward area. We'll continue to review the menus and feedback on a monthly basis to make sure that we can keep achieving these high standards."

The catering department produces approximately 14,000 meals every week with four chefs and a full kitchen staff managing the food for Darlington Memorial Hospital, Bishop Auckland Hospital, West Park Hospital which is part of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and the local Primary Care Trusts.

Over recent years, the catering department has won a number of accolades for the service it provides with members of the team also achieving individual recognition.

Published: 21 April 2011

'I am writing to congratulate you on your wonderful staff you have working for you at DMH.'

Patient, Catering / Porters / Domestics, Darlington Memorial Hospital