Health authorities' food services audit needs workers' input HEU
Input from front-line dietary staff working in BC’s hospitals and long-term care facilities is key to a plan by the province’s six health authorities to review food services.
Judy Darcy, secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union, says that food services workers know best where and how improvements can be made.
“Patients recovering in hospital and seniors living in residential care facilities deserve nutritious food that they want to eat,” says Darcy.
“For patients, failure to eat and poor nutrition is linked to increased infections and slower wound healing. For seniors, proper meals are the basis of their ongoing health and well-being.”
Darcy says that along with in-depth consultation with workers, a full disclosure of the food services review including an assessment of the various methods of preparing and delivering food, and details of the audit’s measurement tools is important.
“Openness and transparency throughout the review process will ensure that the public is well-informed,” says Darcy.
Concerns about food quality have sparked individual health authorities to investigate problems.
In June, the Interior Health Authority announced the findings of its review of a nine-facility, shared-food service in which meals are prepared and quick-frozen in Vernon then transported to and rethermalized at the other sites.
And the Vancouver Island Health Authority recently ordered two reviews of its privatized food services after receiving mounting complaints about food quality and a `high hazard’ rating for health violations from health inspectors.