Posted on July 15, 2018

It takes a small army, a team of 1,118 dieticians, chefs, and stewards, to feed the thousands of patients, visitors, and staff at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Each day HMC’s Catering Department services 25 facilities, including hospitals and clinics. It prepares and serves more than four million meals and snacks each year, an average of 10,000 a day. With its main kitchen located at Hamad General Hospital, all food is prepared using fresh ingredients (rather than frozen). “Each meal is prepared using fresh ingredients and each meal service (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) requires a five-hour production cycle,” said Mr. Andrew Mortimer, Director of Catering. “During each meal service, 39 meals are plated per minute – that’s one meal every two seconds – at our central kitchen in Hamad General Hospital.”

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Meals are meticulously planned and executed and raw ingredients are delivered each day by the truckload to ensure patients and others who rely on the service are fed on time, and as ordered. The Catering Department provides:

  • 622 different menus
  • 3,110 different food and beverage choices
  • 67,818 breakfasts per month
  • 70,006 lunches per month
  • 69,800 dinners per month
  • 612,632 meals for functions and events per year

The Department also operates 33 different function venues across HMC and operates 16 transport vehicles that move meals to hospitals, clinics, and facilities. According to the Catering Department, the most popular meal is the chicken dum biryani with raita and salad, with over 90,848 portions of the meal served each month across HMC’s network of hospitals and clinics. Menus are jointly designed by the dietetics and catering teams to ensure there is variety at each meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are all carefully designed to provide the nutrition and calories needed to meet the recommended dietary allowances of each individual patient.

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Ms. Reem Al Saadi, Director of Dietetics and Nutrition, said more than 150 different basic and combination diets are catered for at any one time. She said dietetics and nutrition staff make recommendations to help treat complex clinical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney failure, while also providing advice to ensure suitable meals are selected for patients who have conditions that range from trouble swallowing or chewing to food allergies and intolerance. “Development of menus is a complex balancing act involving measuring nutrients and calories and testing and retesting to ensure the teams can produce them at a continually high standard,” said Ms. Al Saadi.

“We know that nutritious meals play an important role in the healing and recovery process. While patients are in hospital, diet is a priority and can govern how quickly a patient recovers. Each patient admitted to HMC receives an initial nutritional screening to detect any nutritional deficiencies. They also receive a written diet order based on their medical condition. Every meal undergoes a strict process of planning in coordination with our dietitians. Any patient who needs further nutritional intervention can be referred to one of our dietitians for a consultation and a full nutritional assessment. Our team also provides any required dietary education and recommendations, relevant to the patients’ medical condition,” added Ms. Al Saadi.