HEALTH BOARD: Emergency food initiative ensures no patient goes home to an empty kitchen

By Lucy Ashton

An initiative which provides vulnerable patients with a two-day food package ahead of going home, has helped more than 1,000 patients since launching at the start of the pandemic.

As part of the discharge planning process, patients referred by a clinician to the service can receive the package, alongside additional emergency energy support which ensures everyone can go home to an environment with heating, electricity and food.

The initiative is available through the Hospital Support and Information Services team which has a presence in all hospital entrances. The team has long been providing non-clinical assistance to patients on a range of issues and can manage anything from blue badge applications to housing support, smoking cessation or even helping organise pet fostering for patients receiving care.

The food package was introduced in the context of the cost-of-living crisis and is an example of how health board acute staff work in partnership with catering and charitable organisations to help meet the most basic fundamental needs of patients. 

The package is provided by NHSGGC’s Aroma Café on the day of discharge to ensure a supply of fresh food for the patient, with other non-perishables being provided by foodbanks across Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Bag contents include milk, bread, and butter alongside tinned soup, beans, fruit, coffee and tea among other essentials.

While most patients are referred on through their treatment, any patient or carer can drop into the services in the atrium to request the same support.

Gillian Harvey, Health Improvement Lead for Acute Services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:
“Our discharge planning work begins in the background for every patient the day they are admitted, and one of the key things we look at is the home environment.

“This allows us to effectively plan to make getting home as easy as possible for our patients and it allows us to provide additional and vital short-term support in the form of emergency food packages, energy, and money advice.

“These are key public health issues and as a health board it is our role to make sure we provide as much support to our patients, whether that’s direct or through signposting to partners in the community and through charity so that we can improve patient outcomes in the long run.”

More information on the Hospital Support and Information Services available can be found on the NHSGGC website:

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