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Food app's success shows patients have appetite for new menu

Image shows a woman standing next to a patient sat in a bed

Empty plates are proving two Swansea Bay hospitals are dishing up even more tasty meals as they stay on course to meet food waste targets.

Around 1.3million patient meals are produced every year at three of the health board’s main hospitals in Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot.

To help improve meal options and cut waste, a new food ordering app has been rolled out at Singleton and Neath Port Talbot.

Following an initial trial period, it has served up big savings in terms of food waste and finances.

Image shows two men holding an Ipad Over a 10-month period, just over 29,000 meals on average were made at those hospitals with 6,000 fewer meals wasted compared to the previous year.

It has led to the health board cutting its food waste to regularly meet the Welsh Government target of five per cent at the end of each meal service, though work continues to reduce that figure.

PICTURED: Rob Daniel (left), Deputy Head of Support Services and Matthew Turner of Synbiotix, who developed the food app.

Alongside a better patient experience and reducing waste, the health board has already calculated a saving of £11,000 thanks to the new system.

Rob Daniel, Deputy Head of Support Services, said: “We’re delighted with the success the new food ordering system has delivered. Patient feedback has been very positive, with many commenting on the range of food available and the quality of it.

“Patient experience is always top of the agenda, so it has been really successful in terms of how our patients are enjoying their meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“By switching from our previous paper format, orders are now taken on the food app, by a ward hostess with an iPad. They are sent immediately to the catering team, which means orders can be taken as close to meal time as possible.

“We also have a commitment to meet Welsh Government guidelines regarding food wastage, and we’ve hovering around the required percentage across Singleton and Neath Port Talbot.

Image shows a woman standing next to a patient sat in a bed “It’s good progress as it was at nine per cent before the food app came in, but we’ve got more work to do on that front.”

There is an appetite to roll out the new food app across more Swansea Bay hospitals, with Gorseinon and Morriston next in line to take on the new system this year.

It continues to be a work-in-progress, with regular reviews being undertaken to improve the service further for patients.

PICTURED: Ward hostess Sally Robins takes the order of patient Elise Griffiths.

Rob added: “Feedback from patients and staff is crucial in helping improve this service, so it’s something we are continuing to take on board ahead of any roll-out on further sites.

“The way in which our catering and housekeeping teams have embraced the new system has also been very pleasing. They have been trained in a new digital system from the old paper-based format. They have been integral to the success of the new food app.

“We analyse food waste and the various reasons behind it because we need to understand why food is still left on the plate and whether it’s something we can enhance in terms of our service.

“The food ordering system is constantly being developed and it will be in place across all of our hospitals in the future as it has been a big success for patients, staff and the health board.”

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