coeliacs and hospital foods. - Gluten Free Guerr...

Gluten Free Guerrillas

10,163 members4,190 posts

coeliacs and hospital foods.

terrance profile image

recently I went with my wife to our local hospital, again there was no coeliac friendly food available.

In a recent hospital stay in a Birmingham hospital, I was admitted with a serious (but not related to coeliac) illness. They served me a meal, beef, carrots, yorkshire pudding, and thick gravy.

I explained I was a coeliac, and couldnt eat it. They brought me ha half a jacket potato, well over done and dried up, with a quarter of a tomato for decoration.

When it was visiting time my wife heard of this, and went to chat to the staff about it 'for future reference'.


(ward 13 Salt unit)

She then went by bus at quite a lot of expense, its a fair way from Tamworth, and fetched me coeliac bread, with prescription label on it, (proof) and was told by the sister well we can do him some toast then while he is in here. My wife has power of attorney and we went home her risk. My Gp was great about it. He helped my wife to get me well at home.

Shouldnt something be done to make staff more considerate and aware please.

14 Replies

Hi Terrance, this is appalling and I would complain to the hospital and I would complain to Amnesty International stating that they are abusing your basic human rights as a coeliac. Because providing gf food is fundamental to your health and well being.

I would also complain to your MP

And yes something should be done. May be the GFG's should have a pop at the NHS and hospital food next? It's in our own best interests after all.

I was given g/f food during a 4 day stay in QA in Portsmouth a couple of years ago, it wasn't very exciting but at least I knew I was safe!!

That's pretty appalling- I think the best course of action would be to go to the patient liaison service at the hospital and lodge a complaint. Hospitals have to have gluten free options to offer their patients.

ITrans was booked for overnight stay in hospital following test. No gf provided, after explaining to nurse....she said just have a biscuit for now. ( she was concerned, honest but didnt understand) Next, sparks flew between ward I was on and ward being tran., to. During this time I was in pain with no help. (gone wrongsomewher) Eventually food arrived no afters. No pillow, no top bed sheet, no water, but single room. In lots of pain.. eventually 2 paracetamol tossed onto bed table. saying I wasnt written up for anything. SO IN SPITE OF SAYING i HAD HAD SEDATION which didnt work as I felt pain and was well awake, I got dressed and went home to suffer in comfort. Good thing is gf micro meals there but notes not looked at in detail .Think hospitals now understanding better...but not any emergency bread, crackers, biscuits.

FionaGFG profile image

Complain to PALS at the hospital (in person or via the net or phone) and also report to your primary care trust (they still exist for the moment).

It is also worth writing to your GP as Jerry says.

Hospitals are on our growing hit list. I've had 2 endoscopies and a sigmoidoscopy and each time been offered normal biscuits afterwards even when the nurse after was the one that did my prep and knew I was a coeliac. I refused them - but having had sedation it would've been v easy for me to have wolfed them down by mistake. My hospital's cafe for out patients and visitors contains no GF snacks nor does the venue inside for cooked lunches. When I enquired they said it was all cross contaminated. The hospital food for patients maybe serviced by different contractors yet it's appalling that time and time again coeliacs in hospital are mis-treated and not provided gf food which is vital for their recovery after treatment / operations. There is a need for awareness raising amongst medical staff and also caterers within hospitals.

Sadly as this documentary on Channel 4 showed we're not alone in not being catered for:

Do complain and let us know the responses.

in reply to FionaGFG

Pals deal with situation after it has happened,that was ok. That doesnt stop a further problem about gf food occuring, which isnt pleasant for the patient. It isnt nice having to contact pal, which on the overnight stay I didntIt was easier to get home againt advise. Failed sedation, problem about gf food,lack of bedding, said pain was wind (no way) At home I could put T.V. on for company and distraction, also have comfy bedding. PALS yes they would have looked into it , but what use is that really, I still had problem re gf even though on notes and arrange stay that time, and other things toput up with after waiting on emergency list 7ish months and lost well over a stone in weight . As you can guess I needed care not extra problems. I am pretty tough on the whole but was having struggle covering up pain etc., to others. Now developed vaginal bleed on and off, so some pain might have been that. You cant keep telling the hospital causethen it doesnt go down well with some. I know as years and years ago I was into nursing. Its keep away from that person ....a Pals etc. A scottish so called main doctor was rude to me a few times following staying due to observation as I had complained to pal 1st time. Another docter sent me home when in pain (bad) this I mentioned to PALs. He said I was on very strong home medication that is why he decided to send me home.. Guess what I WASNT he hadnt bothered to ask just made it up obviously. Info given to PALs was a typing error. Any excuse is given at times. Not PALs problem they are in the middle. Sorry but luck of the draw at any hospital...sometimes fine sometimes not or a mix of both. Super when your being cared for and spoken to pleasantly it can happen, honest. Needless to say at my age may as well speak the truth even if it doesnt go down well, your no worse off.. Look on the bright side that all one can do.

same problem in plymouth hospital the cafe/snack bar carries no g/f food unless they have managed to buy in some fruit, but I was with my mum overnight (she was dying) and at 6am there was only scones, bacon wraps and other pastries, the staff were appalling , did not sympathise and said "tough" it was my fault for wanting gluten free food, as if it was my personal choice!

so I advise anyone visiting Derriford to take your own snacks etc.

in reply to 1stgls

Male staff said he was allergic to mayanaise and no one catered for him. Food was supposed to be on ward as kitchen promised it (to staff where I was) On ward it wasnt. nurse said They havent sent it.. Next meal he said They havent sent it...actually he hadnt looked properly. When found, jst micro meal ( very enjoyable) no afters like other patients. He banged it down on table n distance away. A & E staff looked after me fine, observation ward awful care..mind you the male nurse was supposed to care for me..he obviously got a problem with coeliac condition. That wasnt what I was supposed to be treated for, it was almost as if I was being a pest The dr even said it wasnt his job to care for me but the gp. Considering it was Sunday evening and pain ++++ how could gp help. LIKE my business man dad use to say. Customers do not COMPLAIn they just tell you problem, that way one can deal with it in a proper way, if not mentioned cant be solved. COMPLAIN is wrong word..

Its appalling.

Its made me be a bit more proactive - I'm going to write to my local PCT and ask them what provisions they make for food allergies/coeliacs....

i work in an a+e department and having become intolerant have realised that we also dont serve anything as its only sandwiches and snack boxes which are provided by a pfi contractor (at great cost lol), when i am back from my sick leave (not coeliac related) it is something i intend to flag

Well, North Devon Hospital is amazing! I was rushed in last year and had to spend 5 days inside. On the first day they sent me a menu. I told them I couldn't eat any of it, because I was coeliac, so they got me the GLUTEN FREE version, and I ordered off that all week! If I hadn't been so sick I might even have been tempted by the puds!

in reply to sassyl

last emergency visit at TAMESIDE hospital gluten free menu fine, even had puds. Housekeeper provided bread and fresh tub spread at breakfast. Nothing available until breakfast . Had choice.. but that aplies to all patients untill menu next day in order. No bread, biscuits etc. untill next day , then not sure of biscuits provided. OK really . Docters informative and pleasant, staff same.

FionaGFG profile image

Brilliant Sassyl.

Keep the comments coming. It looks like many of us need to write to our PCTS!

@Alisamary get well soon. Yes I've often wondered what would happen if any of us ended up in A&E as a patient - let us know how you get on.

Care and cup of tea for coeliacs. If sent to another ward and miss meal, its ages befor any suitable food. Suppose this could happen to non coeliacs.

You may also like...