Nutritious food supports healthy ageing and is essential for optimal patient treatment and recovery. Food also provides a sense of wellbeing and emotional comfort and is an important expression of cultural identity. Providing food that meets preferences for taste and variety is particularly important for aged care residents.
The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that food served in our public hospitals and public sector residential aged care services is healthy, of quality, and where possible, locally sourced, supporting Victorian farmers and producers. So, in November 2018, the Victorian Government committed to a comprehensive review of food standards in these settings. The review was conducted over 2019-20 and assessed the nutritional value, quality and origin of food served to patients and residents.
Food currently served in our public hospitals and public aged care services is of high quality and nutritious. This review aimed to build on this and look at further opportunities to improve cultural diversity, variety and sourcing of local food. Sourcing of local produce where possible, contributes to providing healthy and high-quality food and also supports local economies.
On 12 April 2021, Acting Premier, James Merlino and the Minister for Health, Martin Foley announced the recommendations of the review at Monash Health Central Production Kitchen, Cheltenham.
Key recommendations underway include:
- The development of new nutrition and quality food standards for Victorian public hospitals and aged care services – including a focus on culturally diverse foods and, for the first time, food standards to meet the special needs of children and adolescents who spend time in hospital
- A policy for healthier, sugary-drink free, vending machines and in-house cafes in health services, to support the health and wellbeing of staff and visitors
- Exploring ways to support health services to procure even more local foods, supporting Victorian farmers and producers wherever possible.
More information, including a summary report of the Review, visit health.vic.
Health services implementing the Healthy choices: policy guidelines for hospitals and health services are encouraged to continue their great efforts. If not, visit the Healthy Eating Advisory Service to get started.