News

Quality of LRH meals hit by suppliers’ non-compliance

BY Safrah Fazal

The Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) is having to compromise on the quality of the meals provided for patients due to issues with the suppliers of the food items. 

LRH Deputy Director Dr. Santhushitha Senapathy, speaking to The Morning, noted that suppliers do not provide items according to the Hospital’s request, citing issues with the rise in prices and the alleged non-availability of certain food items in the market.

“There are specific types of fish, such as Thalapath (sail fish), that are permitted for children at the LRH but these are allegedly not available in the market. The Hospital has also faced occasions where they have found it difficult to provide eggs for their patients’ diet. Suppliers also substitute the requested vegetables with other vegetables that may not be palatable to the children. There have also been occasions when the children were given only a vegetable diet. This is an issue faced at the LRH that most are unaware of,” Dr. Senapathy explained.

According to Dr. Senapathy, this is not necessarily an issue with the non-availability of food items, but a way for the suppliers to evade their responsibility due to the rise in prices.

“There may be issues with the fuel crisis, but when the suppliers received the tender, they committed to supply the Hospital even through difficult times. They agreed to supply food for a period of one year and therefore, they have to bear the ups and downs of the economy. They fail to consider that a patient’s diet is a vital part of the treatment. The patients should receive the essential nutrition in order to recover,” he added.

He further elaborated: “Each day, we have to prepare meals for over 1,000 patients, and when the suppliers don’t commit to bring these items on time, the Hospital finds it difficult to provide a good service to the patients. Sometimes, it’s also very difficult to get down gas.” 

Dr. Senapathy added that due to the fuel crisis and economic issues in the country, the demand for food at the LRH has also risen. “Previously, patients used to bring food from home, because travelling was not an issue. But now, due to transport issues, more patients are reliant on the meals provided by the Hospital. More people are also now opting for Government hospitals as opposed to private hospitals due to financial burdens, which has also increased the demand for meals provided by the Hospital,” he said, adding that despite this increase in demand, the Hospital has been able to manage to provide meals for all patients.