In the growing controversy first revealed by The Eye that one of the largest health bodies in Wales has no policy on food for Muslim patients, a key official has now confirmed they must ‘buy in’ Halal meals, it has been disclosed.
The author of the FOIA question was told by Richard Bevan of the ABUHB: “The Health Board is able to advise that since April 2018, 700 individual halal meals have been purchased across the Health Board. Halal meals are predominantly served at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport. Also since May 2018, 1,780 packs of halal chicken have been purchased”.
Mr Bevan added: “I am able to confirm that the Health Board purchases complete halal meals from a nominated frozen food company. These are delivered in sealed containers and kept in an outer cardboard box, which are stored in the deep freeze. Raw meat is stored in a separate freezer. The meals are re-heated in the sealed containers and served to patients at ward level, still in the original sealed container, thus reducing the risk of any cross contamination. The patient opens the sealed meal themselves”.
The shock news of how special food is given to Muslim patients in the ABUHB region, comes hard on the heels of the disclosure on The Eye that there is no guidance about how it is served or stored.
Yet controversy has continually hit ABUHB.
Two years ago the board was officially criticised for an “appalling lack of weekend care” at one of its main hospitals.
The damning indictment of treatment at the Royal Gwent Hospital (RGH) in Newport, by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Nick Bennett followed the scandal of a man who died at the hospital three days after his admission.
The man’s daughter had complained about the standard of care and that the investigation by ABUHB had been ‘unhelpful’.
The man was admitted to the hospital on Friday December 5 2014, suffering from severe constipation but died three days later.
One year before the case involving ‘appalling’ lack of care, it emerged that a health worker at ABUHB had fraudulently claimed her salary for two years.
Ann Barnes was spared jail after agreeing to return £13,000 she received in overpayment from ABUHB.
Controversies like these are added to with the news about Halal meat – that not only is there no policy but ABUHB must ‘buy in’ suitable food.
After admitting there was no formal policy in place, Mr Bevan added: “I can confirm … that the matters you have raised regarding staff and patient guidance are planned to be discussed at the next meeting of the All Wales Catering Advisory Group to discuss the approach across NHS organisations in Wales”.
A discussion in the All Wales Catering Advisory Group.
That’s all right then…
Soon – a Press Release from ABUHB to the mainstream media in Wales congratulating them for not covering the story.