Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Not Quite, Aseem...

Fry-ups, burger and chips, fizzy drinks and ice cream for pudding. You would expect to see these delights on the menu at a McDonald's or Burger King. But, sadly, this is the sort of food that is also likely to be served at your local hospital.
So says Aseem Malhotra, heart surgeon, who clearly never read 'Notes From A Hospital Bed', or perhaps works at a much, much better class of hospital. I mean, just what IS some of that stuff?

Despite D-Fens' plaintive rant in 'Falling Down', while burgers may not quite match their image description above the counter, they are at least identifiable.

So it's no surprise that patients go where the food is not just recognisable, but edible AND appetising!

And why should a heart surgeon care about the hospital food anyway? Shouldn't he be on the 15th hole by the time the patient wakes up enough to consider whether the removal of the 'nil by mouth' sign is a good thing, or another crushing disappointment with the NHS?
Coronary atheroma (fatty deposit within the artery wall) takes many years to develop and is the culmination of risk factors, of which lifestyle – and diet in particular – is a major contributor.
Oh. I see where you're going...
As a clinician, it is very difficult to reconcile the paradox of a treatment centre administering life-prolonging medications and at the same time serving unhealthy and often unpalatable food to patients and staff. The majority of hospitals spend an average of less than a pound on each meal per patient. Children are given options such as chicken nuggets, sausage rolls, fish fingers, pizzas and pasties. Often, the only vegetable choices are peas or sweetcorn.
And if patients are lucky, they are easily able to tell those last two apart!
Addenbrookes Cambridge, a well-known cardiac centre, has a Burger King on site where it is very common to see patients with heart conditions devouring double whoppers with cheese and french fries. I find this sickening.
Well, stay away from the place then!
How did we allow this to happen? Throughout my medical training, we were taught the ethos: "Prevention is better than cure." Obesity and its related conditions such as diabetes can only be seriously tackled with lifestyle changes and hospitals need to set the example.
*sigh*

No, hospitals need to fix broken people. That's ALL they need to do. Good grief, maybe one of the reasons patients tuck into a Big Whopper is because a) it's edible, where the hospital food is not and b) they are grateful to be alive? Having avoided MRSA and the neglect of the hospital staff?
Thanks to Jamie Oliver, school meals in England must meet minimum nutritional standards. So why does this not apply to hospital food?

In my frustration, I wrote to Oliver last year to seek his help in cleaning up this mess.
Fantastic! So, when an aggrieved patient finally lashes out at the irritating, hectoring mockney git, he won't have so far to go to Casualty...
Diet-related ill health costs us £6bn a year and 70,000 deaths could be avoided if diets met nutritional guidelines. These rising costs threaten to cripple and bankrupt the NHS as we know it.
You sure it's not the inflated fees we pay the staff and administrators, particularly the surgeons?
When it comes to health, the government should not be afraid of being accused of the "nanny state" approach. In my opinion, the greatest legacy of the last Labour government was the introduction of the smoking ban in public places.
That's because you are clearly someone who is far ahead of even the usual 'I'm god!' surgeon.
Vending machines selling chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks should be banned from hospital grounds.
Welcome to NuPuritanism, Aseem. Pull up a (non)comfy chair. I think you'll be here awhile, as Leg-Iron points out...

16 comments:

English Viking said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else want to beat Jamie Oliver senseless (shouldn't take long) with a half-brick?

banned said...

If "Prevention is better than cure." Then why don't you make a start by cleaning the drains thus helping stop Hospital disease?

Didn't the uptake of school meals crash soon after Jamie Olivers reforms?

Henry Crun said...

Does Aseem realise that if we stopped eating burgers and drinking fizzy-pop we'd all be healthy and he'd be out of a job?

PT said...

I wonder... would the sawbones at Aseem's hospital complain about his liking for driving or cycling to work if as a result he required their services after an RTA?
"Lifestyle" seems these days almost to be a pejorative term applied to those whose liking for perfectly normal things results in some doctor having to do the job he's paid for.

Bill Sticker said...

What Henry said.

No disease, no jobs for Doctors.

Woman on a Raft said...

when an aggrieved patient finally lashes out at the irritating, hectoring mockney git, he won't have so far to go to Casualty.

You owe me a keyboard.

For ref: the food court at Addenbrookes is expensive and comparable to any mass-market shopping mall, only with duffer shops. It is not as good as Stanstead Airport.

They try hard but the potted palms don't really disguise the heritage of a 1970s polytechnic canteen.

MTG said...

In his haste to laud their menu, Aseem overlooks due credit to the Labour government for introducing soap to wards and operating theatres.

Mr Monzonite said...

Hundreds of patients die each year in NHS hospitals from malnutrition. Therefore I congratulate Burger King, they may be all there is keeping some poor soul alive.

Captain Haddock said...

Perhaps Mr Aseem "God" Malhotra should be on a piece-rate type of pay ..

Only paid for those who survive after being operated on by him .. Rather than the fat, juicy salary he trousers every month ..

Or maybe he ought to alter his name .. go to a hospital hundreds of miles away, where he's not known .. and spend a week as an ordinary patient ..

Or maybe he ought to try existing on what the average pensioner has to manage on each month ..

I think his lofty views might change somewhat ..

Condescending, out of touch with reality TWAT !!!

Captain Haddock said...

@ English Viking ..

No .. I feel just the same .. in fact, I'll bring the other half- brick ..

jd said...

Personally, I have fond memories of the old renal unit in Manchester Royal Infirmary. I've no idea what it is like now but 20-odd years ago, the nurses recognised how appalling the muck that came out of the hospital kitchens was, and kept a list of takeway phone numbers by the phone.

As for Addenbrookes, which is my hospital these days, so far I've been fortunate not to have had to stay in long enough to judge the overall standard of the food. However, whatever Aseem may think, I am happy to know there are edible alternatives within staggering distance of the ward (though I admit I'm not sure I would include BK in that).

Pavlov's Cat said...

Throughout my medical training, we were taught the ethos: "Prevention is better than cure."

I always thought it was 'First do no harm'

But after a bit of research it does seem the 'Prevention is preferable to cure' was slipped into the Hippocratic Oath back in 1964 obviously not progressive enough for them.

[Note it says 'preferable' not better]

and quite a lot is removed, it's interesting to compare the 'updated' version with the original and classic versions

JuliaM said...

"Is it just me, or does anyone else want to beat Jamie Oliver senseless (shouldn't take long) with a half-brick?"

It's not just you! His cookery shows are great, but when he steps into the public eye with his little plans, my fingers itch.

"Didn't the uptake of school meals crash soon after Jamie Olivers reforms?"

Yes. But that's the progressives for you, always convinced that this time it'll work...

""Lifestyle" seems these days almost to be a pejorative term applied to those whose liking for perfectly normal things results in some doctor having to do the job he's paid for."

Spot on!

"You owe me a keyboard."

:D

JuliaM said...

"Hundreds of patients die each year in NHS hospitals from malnutrition. Therefore I congratulate Burger King, they may be all there is keeping some poor soul alive."

It could be said that they are a more humanitarian service than many departments in the hospital itself..

"Perhaps Mr Aseem "God" Malhotra should be on a piece-rate type of pay ..

Only paid for those who survive after being operated on by him .."


Now THERE'S an idea!

"...20-odd years ago, the nurses recognised how appalling the muck that came out of the hospital kitchens was, and kept a list of takeway phone numbers by the phone."

My god, that's probably a sacking offence these days!

"I always thought it was 'First do no harm' "

With the state of the NHS these days, no wonder they'd like to forget that one...

Lynne said...

I've seen what passes for hospital food and it makes a Micky D burger look good. That's how bad it is.

Angry Exile said...

Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not an overbearing, nannying arseho ... oh, wait. No, it's the other way round, isn't it?