Shock food hygiene rating at Burnley General Hospital

Food hygiene levels at Burnley General Hospital have been criticised by the Food Standards Agency – resulting in health chiefs being told that major improvement is necessary.
Burnley General Hospital. (s)Burnley General Hospital. (s)
Burnley General Hospital. (s)

The catering premises of the hospital were inspected on March 27th this year by Burnley Borough Council, which routinely inspects restaurants, take-aways and organisations that serve food to the public, on behalf of the FSA.

The FSA’s “Food Hygiene Rating” marks premises on a score of 0 to 5, with 5 being the best. Burnley General Hospital received a rating of 1, which states that major improvement is necessary.

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Burnley Council confirmed that its Environmental Health team carried out a routine food hygiene inspection at Burnley General Hospital at the end of March, and that there was a further follow up visit a few days later.

A spokesman said: “Our findings meant that we had concerns to do with management and food safety control systems. Some of these were to do with record keeping and review of systems. There were also instances of food being kept beyond its ‘use by’ date, and poor temperature control.

“The inspection led to us giving Burnley General Hospital a ‘1’ rating for food hygiene. We confirmed this rating to the hospital in writing, setting out our concerns and the areas in which contraventions were occurring. We also set out what the hospital needs to do to put this right.

“Since our inspection, the hospital have been liaising with us, responding positively and keeping us up to date with what they are doing. We are confident that they understand the issues and the importance of putting things right.

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“We intend to revisit the premises to monitor progress. The earliest that a re-rating can take place is 12 weeks after the original inspection, so that would be at the beginning of July.”

The food safety officer inspecting a premises checks how well it is meeting the law by looking at:

• how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored;

• the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities;

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• how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

Sue Chapman, Head of Facilities at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Receiving this rating is very disappointing for the Trust as previously the Burnley site had a five star rating.

“Following the inspection and our own investigation, we have identified the most prominent problem areas as being the recording of paperwork and faulty equipment rather than the food standards.

“We would like to assure the patients and visitors that we take the issue of food hygiene and quality very seriously and as such the team is now working tirelessly to rectify the rating reduction.

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“To achieve this we have implemented a 12 week improvement plan to address the issues highlighted. After that time the Environmental Health Officer will be invited back to the site so a further inspection can be undertaken.”

Burnley General Hospital has also undertaken PLACE (Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment) assessments and the food cleanliness rating of the site achieved over 90%.

PLACE assessments take place across the country and see local people go into hospitals to assess how the environment supports patient’s privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness and general building maintenance.