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Prue Leith & health boss praise new £3m hospital catering facility

Celebrity chef Prue Leith and Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP has served food to patients on Selsey ward at the launch of a new £3m patient catering facility at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

The pair were visiting the trust to learn about the new patient catering service and to officially open the trust’s new kitchen, known as the Central Production Unit (CPU).

TV favourite Leith, who is also the government’s new “hospital food tsar”, was hugely impressed with the taste and quality of all the food served on the wards.

The renowned ‘cake critic’ said, “I know you would expect me to say it is absolutely delicious because when people have worked really hard you never want to say the truth – but, the truth is, this is the best institutional food I have ever eaten! And I’ve eaten in schools, hospitals, prisons and all over the place. I think it is amazing. I walked round and I couldn’t think of a single thing to complain about – which is not like me!”

Leith added, “As soon as I came in here, every single person was enthusiastic and excited about the new kitchen. They have worked tremendously hard to get it and everybody from the nurses to the doctors to the catering staff believe that food is important. They have done absolutely brilliantly and I would just like to roll it out!”

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care agreed, saying the meatballs in particular are superb and better than his home-cooking.

While at the hospital, Hancock also observed an improvement huddle on Selsey ward and met with a crosssection of staff in the Kaizen Space. He said, “I came to look at the food where there is a really good improvement story, but what I have found is that it isn’t just the food – that’s just one example of a culture of continuous improvement that I would like to see spread across the NHS. I think everyone at the trust should be incredibly proud.

'Western Sussex has a reputation as one of the best hospital trusts in the country and I have seen for myself why that is. Everyone who I met has great enthusiasm to improve the institution and it is obviously an incredible part of the community and there is a reason that people like the CQC see Western Sussex Hospitals as outstanding on all accounts.”

Director of Estates & Facilities, David McLaughlin said, “I would just like to say how very proud I am of the Catering and the Multi-Disciplinary Project Teams for all the hard work and commitment they have shown to improve the food service for our patients. The improvements our patients have witnessed in food quality, nutrition and service from our team is second to none.

'Today was an amazing opportunity to showcase our new kitchen; food tasting was received extremely well with amazing feedback from Prue and Matt. It was great to hear how good the food tasted and it just made me feel so proud to be part of Western Sussex.”