Scheme where patients dine with their family at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital recognised at national awards

NNUH restaurant dining voucher. Left to right, retail catering lead Jonathan Batchelor, patient cate

NNUH restaurant dining voucher. Left to right, retail catering lead Jonathan Batchelor, patient catering lead Debbie Jones, general manager Jason Kong and chef Richard Hughes. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It is something which does not have the reputation of a Michelin-starred experience.

NNUH restaurant dining voucher.

NNUH restaurant dining voucher. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

But meal times at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) are being made more enjoyable, as patients have been able to dine in the hospital restaurants with their families - rather than on the ward.

The dining scheme means patients who are well enough can order vouchers which they can take to the restaurant and exchange for an evening meal. The aim is to let patients eat with their friends and family as they would do at home, dine in a different setting, choose from a different menu, and eat at the time that best suits them.

It also encourages patients to keep up their nutritional and fluid intake, playing a vital role in supporting their recovery.

Since its introduction in March 2016, feedback has been positive on the scheme, which is run by Serco.

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And now that has been made official at the Patient Experience Network National Awards, which celebrate the delivery of an outstanding patient experience by all those involved in the health and social care industry.

The scheme was selected by judges as a finalist in the 'Support for Caregivers, Friends and Family' category, runner-up in the 'Personalisation of Care' category and also saw Serco recognised win the top award for a private health company.

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Emma McKay, director of nursing at NNUH, said: 'The scheme is a great way to encourage patients to be mobile and to enjoy eating with their families as they would do at home. It is very important to keep patients' fluid and nutritional intake up whilst in hospital and this scheme will help encourage that, with meal times that people look forward to with their families. '

Ruth Evans, managing director of Patient Experience Network, added: 'The idea of patients being able to share meal times with friends and family is one of those 'why hasn't it been thought of before moments?'. The outcomes were well documented and the idea is easily transferrable to other healthcare settings. It perfectly demonstrates how improving patient experience is a job for everyone, not just the front-line clinical staff.'

Serco has provided support services including catering, cleaning, portering and estates management to NNUH since 2001.

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