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24 October 2018
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Hillingdon Hospital © Geograph-Marion Phillips

20 October 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has appointed Apetito as its patient meals supplier.


The collaboration will use technology “never before seen in the National Health Service to deliver complete meals which have been cooked from frozen inside a trolley used to deliver them to patient areas”.


Under the five-year contract starting on 1 November, Apetito will provide meals for patients across both of the trust’s hospitals: Hillingdon Hospital, in Pield Heath Road, Hillingdon, and Mount Vernon, in Rickmansworth Road, Northwood.


The tender process involved staff from the trust, as well as Hillingdon Healthwatch, Trust Governors and Age UK.


The Soil Association's ‘Food for Life’ team, which advises the Department of Health on national food policy, assisted the trust with its food specification.


Anne Byrne, trust facilities manager, said: "We were particularly impressed with Apetito’s range and the taste of their meals, as well as their commercial offer, and believe they can further enhance our already well-recognised, high-quality patient meal services at the trust.


“A key part of the tender was around sustainability and respecting the environment, and Apetito’s record on sustainability was a major factor in their success in winning the contract.”


Apetito will deliver meals to the two hospitals, where they are loaded on to individual patient trays and inserted into a compartmentalised trolley. Separate cooking and cooling compartments allow hot meals to be cooked from frozen, while items such as sandwiches and desserts are kept cool on the other side of the tray.


Once the process is complete, the trolley can be wheeled on to the ward where trays are simply lifted out and handed to patients as a complete meal.


In April, the trust’s food offering for patients, visitors and staff, was praised by Great British Bake-Off food guru Pru Leith, in a report for the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, and in another NHS first, in July, it installed two Ooft Kitchen microwave vending machines, one at each of its hospitals, to supply 24/7 hot meals to staff and visitors.