In the press recently there have been a lot of 'horror stories' and 'shocking' images of hospital food provided by the NHS. It isn't the first time either that I've read damning stories about the NHS, if it's not the nurses the press are getting at, it's something else... one thing I think that everyone should remember, however, is not to tar all NHS hospitals with the same brush.
I was admitted into the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton in June of last year (2013) onto the Haematology Ward and my first stay was for roughly 3 weeks, which meant hospital food every.single.day... and I honestly couldn't complain. The food I had was all completely edible. (Contrary to what the papers have been reporting lately.) There were two really lovely ladies, who would alternate with one another on different mornings, as to who would come round taking note of what each person wanted for their food that day. (Sometimes it would be a different person, but generally it was one of the two ladies.) Every morning one of them would appear, smile on face, with a choice of different meals I could have that day for lunch and supper and they'd also ask me what I would like for breakfast. (Toast, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, hot drink, cold drink... pretty much anything.) For lunch and supper, there was generally a choice of two/ three different hot options, but there was also the option of sandwiches/ fruit & yoghurt.
All the kitchen staff went about their day with a smile on their face and would always make an effort with me, starting up conversation or just making sure my food was okay whenever they popped in.
You can't fault the staff either. From the kitchen, to the nurses and doctors, they are all such wonderful individuals and it felt like they were always going out of their way to make sure I was okay. It must be really hard at times, (if not every day), working on the Haematology ward, where you're faced with patients who have received a life changing diagnosis, such as cancer. Personally, I couldn't do it. I wouldn't be able to hold it together, when a patient is falling apart. But every day the nurses would turn up smiling and laughing and go about their shift. Being an inpatient for as long as I was, you get to know the nurses and the rest of the hospital staff really well and I can honestly say they are an incredible bunch of selfless and caring individuals. If I was having a down day, they'd know and they'd try their best to cheer me up or talk me round, reassuring me that it wouldn't be like this all the time. They'd always go out of their way and make an effort, one of the nurses even tried to get me to do some origami, as I spent the majority of my days in hospital sleeping and not doing much else... but I'm pretty sure I just went back to sleep anyway, haha.
I was incredibly lucky to have such lovely people looking after me, who still continue to every 3 months or so for my check-ups.
Not all wards are as grim as they're made out to be, not all the staff are as heartless as they're made out to be and not all the food is as bad as it's made out to be either... so don't believe everything that the papers print.