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WildWitch
Sep 25th, 2008, 08:33 PM
Not sure how many of you have experienced hospitals attitudes towards vegans but following my last 2 nights stay in Morriston hospital i can honestly say its appauling and something should be done.

On the menu for lunch on Tuesday was chicken nuggats or fish served with peas and potatoes. I declined any lunch that day as i was about to have surgery anyway. Dinner was another matter though, after my surgery and rather hungry from the pre op fast i was ready for something light. I was given the choice of cheese and potato pie or salmon pasta bake. When i explained i was vegan they managed to get me some potatoes, yup just potatoes mashed with a fork, no alternative butter or anything but just potatoes on their own. The lady who had the cheese and potato pie said it tasted like it had tonns of salt and she reckons it was that nasty cadburys smash stuff.

How on earth are people supposed to get well on this type of food.

Later on the evening the drinks trolly came round, i would have loved a hot chocolate but they didnt have any soya milk. I asked what about those lactose intolerant patients to which the nurse replied the dietician has to pass the neccessary paperwork for those patients to have soya milk and that takes a week to do (being in A&E following an accident i didnt have the time or ability to see into the future well enough to do that). So i told them i wouldnt bother with a drink, then the nurse asked me if id like a cup of bovril, staring at her i thought she was joking, i said im vegan, yes she said the bovril is nice and filling. I just looked:dizzy:at her and said but its beef, to which she looked :dizzy: back and said oh are you a vegetarian as well.

Our life is in the hands of these people. They care for people day after day of all faiths, races etc. Its a huge hospital that covers most of South to Mid Wales surly you would expect the staff to know what vegan means.

Breakfast the next morning was all cereal (again no soya milk) so i was offered toast with flora spread ffs they really have no idea have they. You should have seen the amounts of sugar they were putting on the patients cereals, its criminal.

Funny thing is i have a lip and chin that is badly damaged, just by looking at me she must have known i couldnt attempt to bite into toast (or cereal at that matter). Porridge i could have managed if there was soya milk but no, that can only be prescribed by a dietician. Thankfuly my friend picked me up some v8 juice and a few fruit smoothies so i didnt starve to death.

So glad to be home again.

gogs67
Sep 25th, 2008, 08:37 PM
That's terrible!
I know that the Edinburgh Royal infirmary caters ok for vegans!

sandra
Sep 25th, 2008, 08:45 PM
OMG Wildwitch, that is unbelievable! :mad:
How bloody annoying and frustrating to have to endure such stupid people. What's wrong with them? You would think at the very least they could provide soya milk for those who are lactose intolerant!
Hope you are ok and I'm glad you are out of there! :)

harpy
Sep 25th, 2008, 08:49 PM
:mad: That's useless. Hope you're OK in spite of their attempts to starve you, WildWitch! What happened to you if you don't mind my asking?

Maybe you could ask the Vegan Society to talk to them about it and send them some copies of their catering booklet. The trouble is I suspect they would lose it before the next vegan patient arrives. What we really need (from many points of view) is a critical mass of vegans.

RachelJune
Sep 25th, 2008, 10:57 PM
Poor WildWitch, that's horrendous!! I would be so p**ed off :mad: I agree it's appalling in hospitals. I hope you're feeling better now.

When my dad was in hospital following a heart attack (and later, after a double bypass operation) meals provided on the heart ward included pork pies and full english breakfasts! :eek: Trying to bring on their next heart attack, perhaps??! :rolleyes: I was appalled, but my dad didn't really have a choice - he was sick and needed to eat. It's abuse, imo.

Nothing surprises me anymore! One would think though, like you said, that they'd spare a thought for different religions/cultures where, for example, meat/certain foods are prohibited. Aren't they obliged by law to respect people's religious beliefs? I'd be surprised if they even checked if the cheese was vegetarian. And don't get me started on the soya milk thing.... So they can dish out all manner of crap food to patients but they can't provide soya milk without the approval of a dietician???? :amazed_ani:

Mad mad mad mad mad :mad: WildWitch - you are a saint for managing to not kill someone!

Agatha
Sep 25th, 2008, 11:17 PM
i'm really sorry to hear about your experiences, but we do have a saying in the NHS it goes like this: "don't get sick in wales!" ha ha ha hahhahah! no seriously. I used to work in wales until last month; i left because the quality of service is all round appalling. As a member of staff i couldn't get anything decent to eat in the staff canteen and what patients get is WAY worse. Even in meetings everyone else is provided lunch and i'm expected to take my own. boils my blood.

Please take the time to complain. It might feel like you're making a whole lot of fuss but please, please contact the PALS officer - (patient advice and liaison service) because if people don't complain nothing changes.

Although under equality legislation all public bodies have to cater for religious beliefs e.g. making sure a hindu doesn't have to eat a cow, or a muslim a pig ... but for people who choose to be vegan out of ethical principles outside of a religious context... nah. we don't count. i have thought about claiming to be Buddhist so that i am treated equally at work, but i think that would be a terrible thing to do.

Hope you're on the mend now Wildwitch.

fondducoeur
Sep 25th, 2008, 11:17 PM
O man. That sounds awful! I worry about that sometimes, I can't imagine the hospitals here in Missouri could possibly be better; I only hope my bf/family will have pity and feed me if I find myself there!

Est
Sep 25th, 2008, 11:25 PM
That is so awful Wild Witch!

Really glad you're home now and on the mend. x

I'd definitely complain to PALS like Agatha mentions.

ellaminnowpea
Sep 26th, 2008, 01:16 AM
Oh no! I hope you recover soon, Wildwitch.

My exprience last time in the hospital was very similar. I was given chicken, potato w/ cheese, and buttered veggies. I told them I'm vegan and I woudnt eat it. I didn't bother asking for another meeal. They said "oh you're fine". I went two days like that. They then realized I wasnt eating, lost weight, etc and called in a psychiatrist :eek: to evaluate me for an eating disorder! Idiots! I would have eaten if given real food.

Digital Ghost
Sep 26th, 2008, 01:32 AM
I was in hospital for quite a long time in England and all I got given was cereal (no soy milk), toast (no spread), apples and jacket potatoes with baked beans for the first week. They had vegetables but they were always cooked with butter or some sort of dairy product. The tea and coffee was pre-made with dairy products and so were the biscuits.

I had to rely on a dietitian to get any other items like soy milk - some weeks they had the money for it and other weeks they didn't. The dietitian was obese (no offence - but well you know) and didn't really understand veganism - several times offering alternatives that contained fish or dairy.

After a while a few of the nurses felt sorry for me (as I have no real family to help) and would buy me items. They had a small fridge where I could put a few items like soy milk and hummus - sadly it had no freezer. They could heat up products but not properly cook them - so basically the stuff they were serving was sort of like the pre made ready meals you get.

sugarmouse
Sep 26th, 2008, 02:57 AM
This is horrible I agree:( How on earth do they feed such tot to people who are ill, and think its ok!
I mean from waht you said,RachelJune, they are barmy!
even if I wasnt a vegan, I belive I would expect sometin healthier than a bliddy fry up to eat when I was ill?! These people cannot be thinking straight, to think its ok to feed such things to ill people?I mean everyone knows fry ups are bad for you, even omnis?!
I am lucky to have not had a stay in hspital since I was a kid really.
I had a nasty infection once and was in overnite butwas too poorly to eat, and luckily had taken in some fizzy water and orange juice.
I lived on that, but luckily for me, I was too sick to have an appetite.I was offered food and refused it , but even if it was vegan I probably would have.
Its disgusting that they cannot even provide a basic such a soya milk, lots and lots of people i know who are not vegan, prefer that to cows milk, its pretty 'normal' nowadays.

DiaShel
Sep 26th, 2008, 05:14 AM
oh are you a vegetarian as well.
So glad to be home again.:rolleyes:lol

vava
Sep 26th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Ex nurse talking here - the problem you had was not with anyone but the stupid nurses - (in my experience there are a lot of them around) who will be roundly slated by managers if you complain. Below is part of the patients charter. I presume it is still in force.

CATERING SERVICES

From April 1995, if you have to stay in hospital, you can expect to be given a written explanation of the hospital’s patient food, nutrition and health policy and the catering services and standards you can expect during your stay.
The standards will mean that:
you have a choice of dishes, including meals suitable for all dietary needs;


All the nurses needed to do was contact the catering manager and your problems should have been solved. It is the nursing staff that are at fault here and if this ever happens to anyone again please ask to speak to the nurse in charge and register your formal complaint. Things will happen very quickly after that!



So sorry you have had this problem - but I hope when you feel better you will follow it up with a hefty complaint.

Gorilla
Sep 26th, 2008, 11:08 AM
really sorry to hear about this WildWitch - hope you're on the mend now. do complain - as Agatha says you should get in touch with your local PALS service because you have a right to be fed decent food. luckily the only time i've been in hospital since being vegan i was too ill to eat anything anyway.

harpy
Sep 26th, 2008, 11:29 AM
That's useful to know, vava.

I suppose the trouble is that people in hospital are often at a low ebb and not best able to do battle with nurses and catering staff. There are a lot of people with allergies etc around now though so you think they would have a procedure for addressing different "dietary needs" wouldn't you?

WildWitch
Sep 26th, 2008, 02:24 PM
Seems us vegans arnt that well catered for in hospitals at all.

Im fairly new to Wales, from the Midlands originaly. I had my two children in a Birmingham hospital that did really well foodwise, meals were healthier than what i saw in Morriston the last few days and the staff were well clued up on vegetarianism (i was veggie at the time and had about 3 options on the menu). Im pretty sure there was soya milk for the breakfast cereals too. I guess its cause Birmingham hospitals cater for such a diverse multi cultural range of patients where here in wales they dont. It is dreadful though, everyone should be catered for regardless of faith, personal choice or special diet.

To add to my misery i have an injury that restricts chewing. I fell over a man hole cover while walking home the other day, smashed my lip and cheak. Its been cleaned up and stitched nicely but might have to go back for a skin graft later. Will know more Monday when stitches come out.

Iv just had to go to tesco on line to do my shopping, ordered lots of soups and humous which is easy to eat. Did have some cous cous salad but cant chew the sultanas boo hoo.

What seems to really bother me though is the way hospitals are the most unlikely places for anyone to ever recover. They are noisy, too many people in one ward, particularly like the one i was in the last two nights with an elderly patient suffering from altzhimers, she kept waking everyone up shouting at them and getting patients to do things for her. I did feel sorry for the staff dealing with her and i know she couldnt help it but omg she did annoy me when she kept shouting at me, i was so ill i couldnt speak never mind deal with her demands. The staff doing the cleaning im sure were purposly bumping their mops against the patients beds, i woke up so startled on one occasion to see a cleaner with a mop banging on my bed. Then the staff insisted on putting the tv on, blaring out daytime tv programmes, bright lights constantly shining in your face when all you want to do is relax and doze off. And do the nursing staff really have to bang bin lids so noisily when they dispose of dressings? Then of course there is the lack of personal attention if you have questions you want to ask about your health. One nurse really snapped at me when i asked her how i should care for the wound at home.

I understand staff there are stressed and overworked but i was stressed and extremely concerned about my face ffs. Just wanted to know if there was anything i could do to help it heal and reduce scaring but she bit my head off. Wasnt much easier that i couldnt speak very clearly cause of my puffed up lip.

Id really like to see hospitals operate differently, i know its a matter of cash but our health is so important to us, how on earth can we make a perfect recovery without the proper help and support.

I will put in a complaint about the food though. Id love to see something done about that, firstly make vegan diets catered for and secondly do some kind of programme like what Jamie Oliver did for schools in hospitals. Can you believe they served cheese and potato pie with peas and potatoes, wheres the nutritional value there? These menus are so badly thought up, its appauling. Makes me feel i want to start some kind of campaign.

treaclemine
Sep 26th, 2008, 02:28 PM
You can download: http://www.vegansociety.com/images/HospitalCateringBooklet.pdf or request: http://www.vegansociety.com/contact/ copies of free, full-colour The Vegan Society Hospital and Care Home catering guide.

The new UK Equality Act has not yet been tested, but could be interpreted as requiring that vegans are provided with an acceptable alternative to non-vegan meals in hospital. See e.g. :

http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=5145558

and

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20071092_en_1

Part 2Discrimination on grounds of religion or belief
Key concepts
44 Religion and belief
In this Part—
(b) “belief” means any religious or philosophical belief,

46 Goods, facilities and services


(1) It is unlawful for a person (“A”) concerned with the provision to the public or a section of the public of goods, facilities or services to discriminate against a person (“B”) who seeks to obtain or use those goods, facilities or services—
(a) by refusing to provide B with goods, facilities or services,
(b) by refusing to provide B with goods, facilities or services of a quality which is the same as or similar to the quality of goods, facilities or services that A normally provides to—

(i) the public, or
(ii) a section of the public to which B belongs,

BlackCats
Sep 26th, 2008, 02:34 PM
What seems to really bother me though is the way hospitals are the most unlikely places for anyone to ever recover.
Id really like to see hospitals operate differently, i know its a matter of cash but our health is so important to us, how on earth can we make a perfect recovery without the proper help and support.


I agree. People seem to have a fear of hospitals, they do not seem at all welcoming places and most of us will have to visit one at least once in our lives. Btw not to slate nurses but my friend has just started back at nursing and she said she has been shocked by some of the attitudes of some of her colleagues towards the patients. She said some of them are really rude and unhelpful even to patients that are perfectly pleasant and polite. She did say that the cleanliness aspect has been improved a lot though. This is just one hospital though, I'm sure not all nurses do a bad job and I think hospital staff do a difficult job and I think I read that they are statistically very likely to be attacked at work.

Sorry to hear about that anyway WW. :(

WildWitch
Sep 26th, 2008, 02:50 PM
I agree. People seem to have a fear of hospitals, they do not seem at all welcoming places and most of us will have to visit one at least once in our lives. Btw not to slate nurses but my friend has just started back at nursing and she said she has been shocked by some of the attitudes of some of her colleagues towards the patients. She said some of them are really rude and unhelpful even to patients that are perfectly pleasant and polite. She did say that the cleanliness aspect has been improved a lot though. This is just one hospital though, I'm sure not all nurses do a bad job and I think hospital staff do a difficult job and I think I read that they are statistically very likely to be attacked at work.

Sorry to hear about that anyway WW. :(

Well i did meet some lovely nurses and doctors while i was there, more nice ones than bad ones but sadly the bad one was the last one i saw on my way out so still implanted in my mind i guess.

Iv also seen the shit they have to put up with, the lady in the bed next to me for example who swore at nurses, told them she hated them and couldnt do their jobs properly. Not her fault as i said, she had alzhimers but must be a nightmare for the staff, particularly the ones that get in the way when she lashes out.

There were also a young couple had a fall out while i was in A&E, both drunk or out of their heads on something or other. Security had to be called cause of them fighting.

I must admit i probably did sound a total snob asking for soya milk or herb tea but i wasnt abusive or nasty at all, didnt have the energy to be if id wanted, i was ill. Not that im like that at all anyway. But it seems so unfair that some of us are quiet, just want to rest in hospital yet no nurse has the time just to pop over and say are you ok cause of the ones who are so demanding, abusive and a total nightmare to work with. All i wanted to know was about aftercare for my wound.

Thanks treacle for posting those links, most useful.

Gorilla
Sep 26th, 2008, 03:00 PM
I fell over a man hole cover while walking home the other day, smashed my lip and cheak. Its been cleaned up and stitched nicely but might have to go back for a skin graft later. Will know more Monday when stitches come out.

are you going to sue the local council? sounds like you've got a good case there.

harpy
Sep 26th, 2008, 03:03 PM
I have been visiting a hospital in SW London quite a bit recently and most of the nurses there seem very kind and conscientious, but there is quite a bit of variation between and even within wards.

Yes they are under a lot of pressure but there's no excuse for being rude to a patient who's just asking a perfectly reasonable question.

WildWitch
Sep 26th, 2008, 03:04 PM
Not sure, seems it has to be sticking up an inch or more, my mum and friends have told me i should make a claim, will measure it up and take pics then see what i can do. To be honest i really did suffer from it, enough for a nice holiday would ease the pain a little maybe. Im more concerned about scaring left though, hey maybe if i need the skin graft i can go private if i sue the council and have a nice 3 course vegan dish made up specialy for me, what ya reckon lol.

herbwormwood
Sep 26th, 2008, 04:10 PM
I have been in hospital a few times and encountered different attitudes over the years.
Now I know to ask for the multicultural menu (which has vegan options).
The standard menu was gross last time I experienced it.
If yoU know you are going to be in, in the UK, get in touch with the Vegan Society before you go and take your legal (human rights, phone numbers etc) stuff with you.
If you have a chronic illness which means you might be more likely to be admitted to hospital, make sure your hospital consultant knows you are vegan.
Then you can tell the nurses that he or she is OK with your diet (I know this makes it sounds like you are asking approval, but a lot of nurses seem to have a misunderstanding when it comes to vegans in hospital- like you can only have vegan food on doctors orders...grr)!

herbwormwood
Sep 26th, 2008, 04:15 PM
Although under equality legislation all public bodies have to cater for religious beliefs e.g. making sure a hindu doesn't have to eat a cow, or a muslim a pig ... but for people who choose to be vegan out of ethical principles outside of a religious context... nah. we don't count.

Just ask for the multicultural menu next time, you will find the options suitable for vegans, and of course we count.
You don't even have to mention religion at all, I assure you.;)

Gorilla
Sep 26th, 2008, 04:29 PM
it's just a shame that you have to know to ask for the multicultural menu, otherwise the staff don't seem to offer it.