Vegans in hospitals and care homes - guidelines for patients
Before you arrive at the hospital or care home
If you know in advance that you will be admitted to hospital, make sure that the catering staff are aware that you are vegan before you arrive. They may need a few days notice to order in food for you. The Vegan Society's 'Vegan Catering Guide for hospitals and care homes' can be downloaded from the leaflets and booklets page, or please contact us if you would like a free paper copy to give to the hospital or care home catering managers.
After you are admitted
When you are admitted to hospital, you should be asked about your dietary requirements. If there are no vegan dishes on the standard menu, ask to speak to the catering manager so that you can explain your dietary needs. Communication between the ward staff and the kitchen can be poor, so while there may be a range of vegan options available, the ward staff may well be unaware of them.Some hospitals and care homes rarely have a vegan patient to cater for so will welcome suggestions:
- Supply them with our hospital and care homes catering guide. Contact us for copies.
- If you have favourite dishes make a list to provide a few ideas to get them started. Include recipes if possible.
Eating outside of set meal times
Some hospitals have introduced snack boxes and other options for patients to eat outside of normal meal times. Ask a staff member what your hospital’s policy is on this.
If you are using an NHS hospital, or if the NHS has paid for your treatment in a private hospital, you can use the NHS complaints procedure.
For private hospital treatment, you should complain first to the provider. If you need to take further action, you can seek advice from the
Independent Healthcare Advisory Service
020 7379 8598
If you are in a care home, your provider must have a complaints procedure and they must give you details of it. If your care is provided by a local authority, you can use the local authority complaints procedure. You can also use the local authority complaints procedure if it arranged the home for you, or if it pays for all or part of the cost.
Advice and support
There are various agencies which can provide you with free, confidential advice.
The Patient and Client Council
Can advise on hospital and care home complaints
0800 917 0222
Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS)
Part of the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau
Advise on a range of issues, including hospital and care home complaints
Accessed via your local Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Provides information and resolves concerns relating to the NHS
There are local PALS throughout England.
Community Health Councils in Wales (CHC)
Local CHC provide information on using the NHS, including hospital complaints.
Local CHC also provide complaints advocacy services.