Have you found it hard to get GF meals in hospital?

27 Replies

  • and school:(

  • No biscuits with tea no sandwiches just jacket potatoes 😩

  • Five years ago when I broke my leg I was in for 4 days. They wouldn't give me any GF meals until the dietician had signed it off, and she never turned up. I was left to subsist on fruit that the pitying nurses gave me from their meagre stock, and the takeaways Iindian or MacD's salads) that hubby brought me in the evening. If I had been in for longer we would have had to send him out for GF ready meals! But he was working full time, and dog minding as well, so a bit short of time.

    Last year I was in overnight with what turned out to be pneumonia. I was expecting to starve again, but instead was given the GF menu as soon as I was admitted. It was pretty disgusting stuff, but at least I didn't starve!

    Frimley Park Hospital, in Camberley

  • That's good to see it has improved Ruthi. Although we found GF breakfasts are the worst. As for some reason there's never any fruit in hospitals and they occasionally offer GF bread but want to cook it in their normal toaster! Scary stuff if you're high on pain meds and don't realise

  • Fortunately I've not needed to be an inpatient yet; but the in the bigger hospitals in my area even the cafe food usually leaves a lot to be desired (If I'm lucky I can just about get a jacket potato and beans).

    Birmingham QE have a well known coffee chain on site - however what good is their GF tuna roll to a vegetarian coeliac like me?!?

  • Even with beans and jackets we find them dipping their knives into the same butter they use for the bread..cross contamination training is lacking in hospitals

  • When I was last in for a day case, scope for the bowel because of coeliac, nil by mouth etc. After the procedure they offered me a cup of tea a a biscuit - not gf. Good job I had taken my own as the very same thing happened last time 4 years ago. No lessons learned there then 🙄

  • Ah yes we remember complaining about this too. Whatever happened to just giving out plain fruit eh? They never learn. It's tricky as when you're whoozy it's easy to just eat what you're given

  • I had an operation recently and wasn't allowed to leave until I had eaten.

    I phoned the day before to tell them I needed gluten free and they said it wasn't a problem.

    They gave me a blinking salad! After not eating for 20 hours it wasn't the one and then was told that I should have brought my own food..I still remember the pain of the acid after eating it!

  • was offered a ham sandwich for main meal

  • I must've been really lucky. The ward hostess gave me a list of which meals were ok, she went to tescos to buy my prefaced cereal, which they left with me so no one else used it and also got bread in for me. The meals were made off site so she couldn't alter meals. But I had a big enough choice, and not having biscuits wasn't a problem, I did bring my own in but rarely ate them. Never felt hungry.

    Broomfield, Chelmsford

  • Was also in hospital with broken leg..(August 2005) and no gf meals for me...picked up phone...sent to work for loaf...and a tray of confectionary...(some of it was gf..)..so was very popular.....

    Other hospital....a total no-no. Go prepared...which of course you cant always do if its an emergency admission...

    Barnsley General

    Other one...will allow to remain nameless...other than Sheffield...(and ought to know better!!)

  • Most definitely yes in all the NHS hospitals that I have had procedures done in the private sector is completely different

  • I had surgery a few years ago and didn't get certain items at the salad bar that was in the cafeteria. Had leftovers for smaller meals at home.

  • I was ok in King George, Goodmayes apart from being offered normal toast or nothing in recovery room. lucky i had taken a gf gingerbread man with me so i nibbled that when got back to the ward as id missed the dinner trolley and no food was offered and no nurses around to ask, to be fair though i wasn't very hungry after a major op! The next morning a lovely health assistant got me a big bowl of mixed fresh fruit as the breakfast trolley only had normal bread and cereal but after that i had a separate GF menu to choose from and even a choice of meal size. The food was quite good i had a shepherds pie and veg and a roast chicken dinner while i was there.

    Note i do not have an official diagnosis as id already been gf for many months prior to testing and have refused to eat it again as it makes me ill for 5 days with just a little bit. They still put an allergy band on my wrist and it was written on the wall above my head, both stating "Gluten Free"

  • I recently needed to have an overnight stay at Shrewsbury Hospital and, although it was only breakfast, the catering staff did offer and supply a gluten free option.

  • I've cheated a bit here in answering yes, since I've never had to request a gluten-free meal. However, I gave the yes vote because it did reflect what I experienced in hospital. On admission (via A & E) I was given a leaflet that said I could request special dietary needs. At the time I couldn't eat fat - at all. That's why I had been admitted to hospital. Despite this, I requested skimmed milk over and over (during two hospitalisations), asking nursing staff and catering staff, and was told, very shortly, that I could have semi-skimmed milk or go hungry (they only did cereal for breakfast). Nor were meals ever altered for fat content, or information given; I had to make a best guess when picking a meal. Their thinking seemed to be that it didn't matter if it caused you pain, or if it caused another attack of colic (a pain worse than childbirth), because you were in hospital and they could treat you by just 'nil by mouthing' you. (I went without food or water for 4 days on my first hospital admission; they just stuck me on a drip.)

    I know, during the times I was in, no gluten-free food was ever on offer and I never saw anyone get any special dietary measures, so no, I personally found special dietary needs were not catered for, in spite of the leaflet saying they were, and that nurses/doctors felt it was an unnecessary (and rather trivial) thing to do, and a major inconvenience to them.

  • I did eventually get some gluten free food. The staff nurse understood my needs, but the health care assistants who were doing the menus, asking people what their choices were, just didn't get it at all! Pathetic really that their training on special diets was non existent!

  • I got a half half experience - I was given a GF menu to pick a dinner off, but then no one came back to take my order. In the end I asked my nurse about it and she went off and sorted it out herself! Later she made me have dessert as I can't eat much solid food due to problems with my stomach and I had only eaten a bit of my dinner. She was lovely and found me yogurts. The lady opposite me got hot (gluten based) puddings! I was quite surprised!

    The problem came with snacks like biscuits, or non hot meals. People got prepacked sandwiches for lunch and there was nothing for GF. The same happened with breakfast. The options were cereal or toast with no GF option. I had taken my own GF biscuits and bread so I had a little bread with jam/butter. I never saw any fruit!

    Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge.

  • The canteens seldom have gluten free food, except pre wrapped brownies, but one wants proper food not 'sugar'. and once as in patient I was given shepherds pie for lunch and supper everyday for 5 days. till I rebelled and refused to eat it, then wonder of wonders the catering manager appeared and asked me what I would like?

    I found that the people serving the meals were often unable to speak english so I couldn't guage whether they knew anything about the food they were serving

    I was also another time brought a mushed up diet and it wasn't even gluten free. The server had no clue what a gluten free diet was. I again requested the catering manager and received a gluten free supper.

    Bon appetit !!!!!!!!!

  • Having spent 5 unplanned days in the local hospital a couple of years ago the one problem was food as gf did not register with them. I could find something that on main meals that I could get away with but breakfast was hopeless. When I was able to get about one of the nurses suggested trying the coffee shop on ground floor turned out to be only place in building stocking gf products.

  • Poole hospital offer good gluten free options having just worked there for three months on a work rotation.  The ward I was on had a coeliac patient and she had a separate menu everyday.  The problem you have is lack of training for the nurses and HCA's who are not aware of what coeliacs can/cannot have.  Not all of them I have to say but the majority of them.  Having to use a separate toaster wouldn't have even crossed their minds.  The other problem you have is the volunteers that come into to help out with teas and coffees.  The patients are offered snacks with thier drinks but there are no gluten free options.  If the volunteer is not aware the patient is coeliac and the patient lacks a certain degree of capacity of course they are going to ask for a biscuit, kit Kat etc. It's a tricky one but all hospitals should offer a gluten free option it just might not be very exciting I'm afraid to say :( 

  • Last time I was an in patient... I was assured my meal was gluten free and then low and behold... Poisoned by the very institute that was supposed to be caring for me... 

  • I work in an a&e dept and trying to find gf for patients is really hard. When I had my endoscopy I wasn't allowed to leave until I'd had a cup of tea, sandwich or biscuits, when I asked if they had gf I was met with a blank stare......not brilliant for a dept regularly deals with new and seasoned coeliacs, I just had a cup of tea and left

  • I blogged about my experience a couple of years ago:


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