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Blogs / 21.09.2021

Why 24/7 foodservice is essential to a post-pandemic NHS

In June, the NHS reached another grim milestone as the number of people waiting for treatment in England broke the five million barrier for the first time. Reducing these waiting lists while continuing to manage the extra workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with a workforce on the edge of burnout is going to take some very smart planning from NHS executives and Trusts. Carrying on as before and hoping for the best just isn’t an option, and neither is sitting back and waiting for a big, ‘hero’ plan that solves everything.

What’s needed is a service provision shake-up that doesn’t discount any possibility for improvement - a series of initiatives that allow incremental improvements and, together, make a significant difference. And it’ll be important that all aspects of your service adapt to support your plans to reduce waiting lists.

Perhaps you’ll look at running clinics outside traditional hours and explore where ‘pop-up’ operating theatres can fit into your estate. Maybe your focus will be on streamlining the patient journey so you can treat more patients. Whatever route your Trust decides to take, it’s clear that services will be expanding into more of a 24/7 model to cope with demand. And it’ll be important that your support services – like your food provision - flex to match your changing requirements, too.

The Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food underlines the importance of 24 hour food provision in hospitals to help people eat well in the hospital environment whenever they need to. Clearly, there’s a case for supporting patient nutrition around the clock, but it’s critical we don’t forget staff needs as well. The charity efforts that sprung up during the pandemic to feed healthcare workers revealed how little is regularly available to them. If we’re to help staff avoid burnout, we need to nurture them, too.

What does this mean for your patient and staff catering?

At the core of your foodservice offering you need a way of providing healthy, freshly cooked meals 24/7. Our Steamplicity patented micro-steaming system does exactly that. In just minutes, a nutritious range of raw and pre-cooked ingredients become a freshly cooked meal that’s ready just when the patient or staff member wants it.

We offer a flexible, chef and dietician-led menu, with a choice of 30 hot options, plus light bites, soups and finger foods for people living with dementia. Generally, meals are ordered two hours before service, but wards can also cook meals on demand – perfect for patients who are off the ward at mealtimes for treatment, late admissions or new mums who haven’t had a meal for some time. In those circumstances, a tasty Steamplicity meal can easily be ordered via our onsite helpdesk from an out-of-hours menu we’ll agree with you.

As a Trust, you can make Steamplicity meals available to your staff, too. Or we can work with you to create a range of options to support 24-hour access to healthy food by staff, across our retail stores, hot and cold vending and grab-and-go meal bags.

Why not explore how Steamplicity could help your Trust provide healthy meal options to patients and staff 24/7? Get in touch to arrange a time to talk through the options with one of our experts.

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