Purple plates introduced for patients with allergies

Patients with allergies are to have their meals served on distinctive purple plates in a new initiative by Solent’s catering team.

The move is designed to make allergen meals more easily recognisable to catering and ward staff, helping to minimise any risk of cross contamination.

It comes just two months after Solent NHS Trust introduced blue crockery at its community hospitals following an eight-week trial which found it reduced food waste by 20%.

The dramatic result – meaning more patients were eating more food, in turn aiding their recovery – was hailed as “incredible” by Solent catering boss Iain Robertson.

It led to the immediate introduction of blue plates and bowls on community wards at both the Western Community Hospital and the Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton, and St Mary’s Community Health Campus in Portsmouth.

Now the crockery scheme is being extended to include colour-coded plates for patients with allergies to certain foods such as milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat.

Previously these patients would have been given plates marked with a purple rim.

Naz Ahmed, Assistant Catering Manager, said: “The colour purple is now universally recognised in kitchens as allergen-related and this new crockery will further deter any risk of handing the wrong plate to a patient.

“Our catering staff prepare thousands of meals every week and an increasing number of these are for patients who have allergies to certain foods. These patients are always served first.”

The lilac plates look distinctly different from the Trust’s new blue crockery and will be used instead of purple-rimmed melamine dinner and side plates, which were starting to stain and needed replacing.

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