Tillery Valley discuss the challenge of hospital catering

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Client News, Opinion, Tillery Valley Foods
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A report published earlier this week by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) claimed that catering services in hospitals across Wales are inconsistent, and while improvements were being made, they are coming too slowly.

An area of particular concern was nutrition, which as the report stated is a ‘crucial element’ in patient care. Yet with public sector spending cuts and rising food prices, maintaining and improving nutritional standards is an ongoing challenge to hospital caterers.

Peter Marrs, Sales Director at Abertillery-based prepared meals manufacturer Tillery Valley, appeared on BBC Radio Wales’ ‘Good Evening Wales‘ to comment on the issues raised by the report. Tillery Valley produce 600,000 meals per week for catering departments across the public sector, and work closely with health trusts UK-wide to design menus to accommodate specific, and often tight, budgets.

Peter said, ‘Matching nutritional standards and dietary requirements to shrinking budgets is difficult, but not insurmountable. At Tillery Valley, our in-house dietitians build menus around nutritional requirements, collaborating with out product development team to ensure we deliver the highest-quality products within these strict criteria.

“We have a wide range of menu mixes, taking into account regional tastes, cultural preferences and specific dietary requirements. We work alongside health trusts to provide a varied menu with a range of options to make mealtimes a positive experience for patients. Although the average stay in hospital has reduced to less than seven days, a full range of healthy and balanced meals is still necessary, so that those who may experience a full menu cycle are still provided with a choice.”

Peter concluded, “Delivered meals can often offer increased patient choice through the range of options available, and improve both the quality and efficiency of hospital catering.”

Companies like Tillery Valley may find themselves in increasing demand as they continue to deliver a consistent, cost-effective and nutritionally focused service to the public sector; catering to a wide range of patient needs while delivering nutritional standards within a specified budget.

Part of the PAC report recommended that the Welsh Government monitor the progress of NHS bodies in delivering its guidance around patient catering and nutrition. Further statements on this important issue can therefore be expected in the future.

To hear Peter’s comments on ‘Good Evening Wales’, you can listen again on the BBC Iplayer website, by clicking here.

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