Gluten freedom: Mercy's food service receives national recognition


Mercy Hospital won the non-clinical section of the biennial NZ Private Surgical Hospital Association's 2021 Leaders in Quality awards for its efforts to become a certified establishment for gluten free dining under Coeliac New Zealand’s Dining Out programme. 

Mercy Hospital was one of three finalists for this award. The inspiration behind Mercy Hospital’s project is the understanding that for patients with coeliac disease being in hospital can be made more stressful by concerns about what they can and can’t eat. 

One in 10 New Zealander's live with gluten intolerance and up to 100,000 kiwis have coeliac disease, although many of these people may be undiagnosed. Mercy therefore opted to become a certified establishment for gluten free dining under the Coeliac New Zealand Dining Out programme. 

This was achieved by developing systems and processes that were sustainable and able to be implemented across the campus for staff and patients alike. 

Project lead and Mercy's Support Services Manager Jackie Wilde says, “being an accredited venue provides reassurance to gluten free diners that Mercy Hospital has made an ongoing investment in providing safe, gluten free food.” 

"This project was a team effort, involving the knowledge and expertise of our dietitian as well as the experience and know-how of our chefs," says Jackie.

Feedback from patients and staff has been overwhelmingly positive, with a theme being how safe patients feel consuming gluten free food at Mercy.

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