Veteran calls for audit of Camp Hill food
Capital Health says it can be a challenge to get hot, fresh food to 175 veterans
An 84-year-old Nova Scotia war veteran is fighting for food changes at the Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial Building at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.
Capital Health feeds hundreds of patients and residents every day, but Jack Walsh says the meals aren't good enough.
He's calling for an independent audit on the service and the quality of the food.
"It's bland, tasteless and we don't think it's very nutritious," he said after finishing lunch Thursday.
Walsh joined the merchant Navy at the end of the Second World War when he was 17. He's been living at the Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital for the last two years.
"The fish is absolutely terrible. It's frozen to begin with. It's heated, cooked and then it's heated again in our kitchen," he said.
While some of the veterans' food is prepared 24 hours in advance, Capital Health says a lot of care is put into the food.
"Some of the items are cooked fully. Others are par-cooked and some are not cooked at all depending on how it will reheat in the Veterans' Building," said Jennifer Higgins, food service supervisor at Capital Health.
She oversees food preparation at the Queen Elizabeth centre, which provides food for four Capital Health sites, including the veterans' building.
"The freshest product and the safest product is provided to them," she said.
Capital Health insists they work hard to please all the residents. Veterans are served fresh fruit and vegetables, and some recipes are modified to be healthier.
However, Capital Health says it can be a challenge to get hot, fresh food to 175 veterans three times a day.
Long-term care residents at Camp Hill receive $42 a day from Veterans Affairs Canada to fund food, a dietician, staff and supplies.
Walsh says where and how that money is spent should be reviewed.
"You see that at the end of the day, if they don't like the meal, most of it goes in the garbage," he said.
Capital Health says they are open to feedback to make the food better.
"We do everything that we can in our power, and what's possible, to make sure we address those issues," said Higgins.
Jean-Christophe de le Rue, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, said in a statement that the minister "takes the concerns of veterans seriously. That’s why he has directed his officials to speak with Capital Health to ensure veterans are receiving proper care."