The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Teaching Hospitals features in the top 10 for patient food

24 April 2023


LTHT Patient Food

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) has scored very highly in the latest Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) results, with a top 10 position for patient food with a rating of 97.87%, which is 7.6% above the national average.

The PLACE assessments look at non-clinical services that patients say are most important to them, such as food quality, cleanliness, the appearance and condition of buildings and grounds, and privacy and dignity. 

In October 2022, a group of patient and staff assessors visited St James's, Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), Chapel Allerton and Wharfedale and scored wards, departments, external areas and internal communal areas based on observed conditions. 

As well as appearing in the top 10 for hospital food in healthcare settings across England, the Trust also beat the national averages in all six PLACE categories, scoring 99.77% for hospital cleanliness and 99.35% for the appearance of buildings and grounds.

A patient assessor who visited the LGI said: "My experience as an assessor gave me the opportunity to witness patients being treated with dignity, respect and privacy. It was a very easy inspection to undertake, and the level of staff attentiveness was first-class. The decor is very clean, and the food is excellent."

The patient food and drink service is a crucial aspect of PLACE, and the score is not only based on the assessors' scoring of the quality of food; it includes the Trust's level of compliance with fifty-two background systems and support structures, such as nutritional care, menus for clinical and cultural needs, food safety and the range of meals.

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: "We are a very large Trust and can serve up to 2,000 lunch meals every day of the year. These results are particularly pleasing, given they are the views of our patient representatives. The Facilities Team, including our catering and ward housekeeping staff, go above and beyond 365 days a year to serve patient meals and keep our hospitals clean. Whilst we recognise we still have a lot of development work to do, it's great that we are above the national average in all six categories."

The Trust conducts monthly surveys with patients to review the meal service and has a team dedicated to patient catering development. They are currently developing pictorial menus to improve accessibility for patients, introducing more sustainable products and removing single-use items where possible.

Martin Lowe, Senior Facilities Manager of Patient Catering at LTHT, said, "The provision of the patient catering service is an ever-evolving process. It can be likened to an iceberg in that what most patients see at the point of service is only the tip, and most of the work is unseen in the purchasing, storage, menu creation, ordering, distribution, cooking and service. Our teams work incredibly hard to provide 2,000 meals three times a day across five very different hospital sites."

The overarching aim of the assessment is to provide assurance and establish areas for improvement through the patient's eyes. The cleanliness of our hospitals is of the utmost importance, and since the last formal PLACE assessment in 2019, visual cleanliness standards have been maintained and, in some areas, strengthened. 

Dean Legg, Head of Facilities at LTHT, said: "In addition to the PLACE assessments, we formally audit most clinical environments at least monthly to ensure our high hospital cleanliness standards are maintained. We have fully supported the implementation of the National Standards of Cleanliness, and we continue to invest in the latest decontamination and automated floor care equipment. We are committed to looking at how we can further improve and deliver the highest standards for all our patients."