Serco (the hospital facilities provider) provides the catering services to both patients, staff and visitors at Darent Valley Hospital. The information below relates for Darent Valley Hospital. For food provided at Queen Mary's Hospital please contact Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

Patient meal services

Patient meals are provided by a cook chill delivered meals service. The meals are produced off site by a specialized supplier of chilled and frozen meals to healthcare establishments such as NHS, private hospitals and care homes. Deliveries are received six days a week, to a purpose designed on site cook chill receiving unit where the meals are stored at below +5oc prior to being distributed to the wards for regen.

The meals are then regenerated at ward level in purposefully designed trolleys within the ward kitchens. The majority of meals are reheated from chilled. All reheated food items must reach the required temperature of above +75oc within 50-55 minutes.

For further information contact:

  • Catering: 01322 428835 or Dietetics: 01322 428439 

The dietitians and catering staff work closely together to provide meals and a range of choices for patients requiring special diets, such as milk free and gluten free. If a meal is missed because of tests being undertaken, a “litebite” microwaveable meal or snack box can be provided. 

Diabetes

The dietary advice for diabetes is based around healthy eating guidelines.  The menu is coded with a  ♥ symbol to highlight choices which contain moderate amounts of fat, sugar and salt when a standard portion is served.

For those who wish to estimate their carbohydrate portion sizes, carbohydrate content information is available for our menus.  Please ask ward staff for this.

Snacks are available on the ward if you need them.  

If you are coming in with complex needs, please contact the Nutrition and Dietetic department in advance on 01322 428439 if possible to arrange for a diabetes specialist dietitian to contact you.

If you have gestational diabetes and find that the menus on the maternity wards do not meet your needs, please inform your nursing team who can arrange for a member of the catering department to visit you to discuss suitable options.

The menu is coded with heart symbol to highlight choices which contain moderate amounts of fat, sugar and salt when a standard portion is served. This is suitable for a healthy balanced diet and for patients with diabetes.

For those who wish to estimate their carbohydrate portion sizes, carbohydrate information is available as part of our ward catering folder. This is available from the STA (Catering Assistant) or Nursing team.

If you are visiting DVH as an inpatient with complex needs or concerns, please contact the Nutrition and Dietetic department in advance on 01322 428439 to arrange for a specialist dietitian to contact you. The Catering Manager can also be contacted on 01322 428823.

If you have gestational diabetes and find that the menus on the maternity wards do not meet your needs, please inform your Nursing Team or STA (Catering Assistant) who will discuss suitable options.

At Darent Valley Hospital we operate a 2 week menu cycle. A copy of the menu is displayed on every ward and a disposable copy will be offered on admittance. The core menu has been designed with the Dietetic Team to provide for most diets (soft, balanced choice/diabetic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free). 

Breakfast - Breakfast service is ‘a la carte continental’ style with porridge on most wards. 

The breakfast service provides a selection of cereals, porridge, toast with preserves, or marmite, croissants are also available.

Beverages consist of tea and coffee, decaffeinated versions can be provided as well as an assortment of specialty teas, a variety of juices are also available, consisting of apple, raspberry & apple and pineapple.

Lunch - The lunch service provides two hot choices or a sandwich and a choice of three cold desserts at lunchtime.  Patients choose their lunchtime meal at ‘point of service’. The Catering Department provides meals for lunch according to the number of meals ordered on the patient meal request sheet sent to the Catering Department previous day. Based on feedback from the maternity areas, patients on Aspen, Cedar choose lunch from an a la carte choice of sandwiches & jacket potatoes, omelettes & desserts

Dinner - Dinner consists of soup, three hot choices or salad and choice of one hot and two cold desserts at dinner which is chosen by the patient via a menu card offered at lunchtime. Soup is served, if ordered, at 17.00pm.

Information on allergens is contained in a specific folder on each ward.

The menus provided by Darent Valley are designed to provide nutritious and safe food for a wide range of diets.  For this reason, we would always encourage patients and staff to discuss how the Catering Department can provide appropriate meals for patients.  However, where relatives insist on bringing in food for patients, a specific process must be observed. Please speak to your nursing team or ward manager for information.