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How we prepare our meals

Recipe development and nutritional analysis 

We have two large Cook Freeze Production Units (CFPU’s) where we prepare, cook and freeze the majority of your meals. We have our own NHS employed catering staff who work in these CFPU’s which are based at the Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Our chefs use fresh ingredients when preparing and cooking your meals.

Once dishes are cooked they are decanted into smaller portion packs and immediately blast frozen, using specialised freezing equipment. This ensures that the products are frozen down without adding additional moisture to dishes or destroying nutritional content.

The meals are then stored in the CFPU freezer holding area before being packed and dispatched to each hospital site.
Once meals are dispatched from the CFPU and received at hospital sites, they are stored locally prior to being transported to ward areas to be regenerated and served to patients.

Some of our menu items are prepared within your hospital kitchen such as salads and special dietary meals, all of which are offered at mealtimes.

This regeneration system ensures that your meals are heated and plated in or close to wards rather than travelling long distances on the plate within hospitals. This means that you are more likely to get a hot, well presented, tasty meal.

We operate a two week menu cycle (from April 16) allowing us to offer you a combination of traditional main meals and lighter snack meals at lunch and evening meal along with a continental style breakfast.

All of our meals have been nutritionally analysed by a dietitian. We cater for a wide range of ages, from children to the very oldest of our population, and for people with conditions that require special diets.

It is important that we can meet the nutritional needs of everyone in our hospitals. The NHS Scotland Food in Hospitals National Catering and Nutrition Specification sets out in detail what should be provided for patients. The specification provides guidance on how many calories, how much protein, fat and carbohydrate as well as essential vitamins and minerals are required. NHSGGC complies with this specification.

In the CFPU’s, our chef’s follow tried and tested standard recipes to ensure that our dishes are prepared and produced exactly the same way each and every time.

However, our chefs are always looking for ways to improve our food and recently they have been working with a development chef who has advised us on some recipes and different cooking methods. Following this exercise, we have created some new recipes and adapted some of current favourites to improve the overall quality of our meals.

To test our recipes, we have been holding tasting roadshows around our hospitals sites allowing members of the public, patients and staff a chance to try out our food. The feedback we have had has been excellent.

We purchase food and drinks as part of an NHS Scotland National Procurement Framework of approved catering suppliers. Each supplier of food and drink must meet strict standards including nutritional guidelines and food safety. Every item purchased is fully traceable and protects our patients, staff and visitors. Where possible we ask for local food producers and suppliers to be approved by National Procurement – for example our fresh fish supplier is a local company based in Greenock .

It is important that you try to eat and drink as normal if you can while you are in hospital. If you have special dietary requirements we are unaware of please speak to a member of ward staff.

Our Catering Department want you to enjoy the food we provide and invite you to give feedback at any time during or after your stay.

Click here to see the steps involved in the preparation of our meals, from our supplier to your tray.