News Articles

news-articles

Meal budget sickens

Article by: By KEVIN CONNOR, SUN MEDIA
– It’s criminal that provincial inmates in Ontario are alloted more money a day for their jailhouse cuisine than sick patients receive in hospitals, health experts say.
Prisoners at the Metro Toronto West Detention Centre are each granted $11.02 a day for food.
Hospital patients don’t receive as much — at St. Michael’s the budget for a patient’s food is $8.07 a day, for hospitals in the University Health Network it is $6.50 a day, and at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre it is $7.
The public relations department at The Hospital for Sick Children refused to disclose how much is spent for a patient’s food, which is budgeted by individual hospitals.
Stewart McGetrick, with the ministry of public safety and correctional services, says jails need the $11.02 a day per prisoner to meet the nutritional standards set by the province.
Sick people need the best possible nutrition to become well, said Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.
“It’s phenomenal and astounding. Everyone should be receiving the same,” Grinspun said. “People in hospitals have more complex needs … the government needs to step in.”
Several calls to Health Minister George Smitherman’s office were not returned this week.
Residents in Ontario’s long-term care homes are expected to eat three meals a day and two snacks a day for under $6.
The ministry of health and long-term care recently announced a funding increase, effective July 1, which raised the daily raw food cost funding by 11 cents, from $5.46 to $5.57 per resident.
“While we are thankful for any increase, the fact remains that it costs at least $6.75 to prepare a properly planned menu to meet the needs of today’s residents,” said Linda Dietrich, Dietitians of Canada regional executive director.
IMMEDIATE INCREASE
The dietitians want an immediate increase to $6.75 per resident per day, and a further increase to $7 in 2007, a move that is also supported by long-term care providers.
“Health-care professionals working in long-term care see the impact of nutrition on health and quality of life of the residents every day” Dietrich said. “It is very surprising that the government has not acted on the compelling facts and public support for this issue.
“An increase in raw food costs to $7 per resident per day to ensure basic adequate nutrition will help to improve the health of our residents, reduce unnecessary hospital visits and health care expenses, relieve unnecessary resident suffering and improve the quality of life for residents, all of which assist the government in achieving their identified priorities,” she said.
ON THE MENU
An example of lunch served at Ontario hospitals and jails.
HOSPITAL
– Tomato soup
– Grilled cheese sandwich
– Raw vegetables
– Fruit
– Milk
JAIL
– 60 grams of hot sliced roast beef
– 200 ml of potato salad
– 250 ml of spinach salad
– Two slices of bread with margarine
– A piece of fruit
– A beverage
Money for meals daily:
– Metro West Detention Centre — $11.02 – St. Mike’s hospital — $8.07
– Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre — $7
– University Health Network — $6.50
– Long-term care facilities — $5.57