If you were looking for a tasty meal, using fresh produce and local ingredients, chances are one of the last places you might expect to find such a culinary treat is in a hospital.
Shepton Mallet Treatment Centre is providing some of the best hospital food in the country, thanks to a partnership with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. They are also now providing their award-winning meals to patients at Shepton Mallet Community Hospital too.
Shepton Mallet was the first in the South West to achieve the coveted Gold Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark when it received the award in September 2015. At the time it was only the fourth hospital in the UK to gain this recognition and the hospital continues to hold the award. This year the award was renewed for the fifth year in a row.
The award recognises the hospital’s determination to offer freshly cooked meals making use of fresh local ingredients in its café and to patients on the ward. It provides over 250 meals every day as well as drinks and snacks to visitors, team members working in the centre, patients and local people.
The Gold Mark means that all the meat used at Shepton Mallet Treatment Centre is free range and achieves UK animal welfare standards. All fish used is confirmed from sustainable sources as defined by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council). Dishes contain only free-range eggs, no undesirable additives or trans-fats, with information on display about where ingredients come from. Many ingredients and food products are sourced locally from the Shepton Mallet area or the wider South West food and farming community. It also means that at least 15 per cent of ingredients are organic, with the hospital using Riverford for meat, vegetables and milk supplies. All dishes are prepared from scratch.
The new regime is already going down a treat at Shepton Mallet Community Hospital, with patients and staff agreeing that the meals available are the tastiest they have ever had in a NHS hospital.