Food quality and service at the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital has received a significant overhaul with its new $2.4 million kitchen being unveiled on Thursday.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall was on hand to open the new kitchen, part of the overall $60 million redevelopment of the hospital, and also helped to prepare the lunch time service with kitchen staff in the new facility.
“This is a great milestone for the hospital redevelopment, with kitchen staff working out of temporary kitchens since January this year when the remodelling of the old part of the hospital started,” Mr Marshall said.
“The hospital is now in the final stages of the redevelopment and I, along with everyone in Armidale, are excited to see the last of the works completed and the scaffolding come down.
“Completing the kitchen is a major step towards the day when the entire facility can be unveiled.”
Mr Marshall said the modern kitchen would also precipitate the introduction of a new system of food ordering at Armidale Hospital, known as ‘My Food Choices’.
“Hospital food tends to be very ‘practical’ – it’s about getting adequate calories and nutrients into patients, not necessary taste or presentation,” Mr Marshall said.
“While a hospital can’t offer gourmet meals made to order, the new ‘My Food Choices’ program means that patients will be able to order their food the day of service by choosing from a menu that will include colour pictures.
“Orders will then be transmitted to the kitchen from mobile devices in the patients’ rooms.
“This means that patients can select what they’d like on the day rather than trying to guess what they might feel like days in advance. It gives patients real choices about what they are having day-to-day during their stay.
“It’s a small thing we can do to make hospital visits more pleasant for patients and give them daily control of their diet in an environment where many things can feel out of their control.”
The new kitchen includes state-of-the-art facilities and will also feature trolleys designed to streamline clean-up and waste disposal for staff.
“The hospital has also reached an agreement with Armidale Regional Council to dispose of all food waste through the council’s innovative City to Soil program,” Mr Marshall said.
“With the new kitchen open and staff in place we are one step closer to seeing the new development fully completed.
“I look forward to the day I can stand outside the new entrance with hospital staff and welcome the community to see the redevelopment in its entirety.”