Patients complain of dry salmon and congealed desserts
Patients in a major Dublin hospital were served up an unappetising dinner of dry salmon, potatoes and vegetables.
And the dessert featured congealed rice pudding, an inspectors' report has revealed.
The cuisine at Tallaght Hospital received less than rave reviews from patients, the inspectors from the Health Information and Quality found.
"While some meals appeared to be presented in an appetising manner, it was observed that other meals were overheated and dry," they said.
When they interviewed a small sample of patients, some said their food was "warm and nutritious", but others described it as being "stuck on a plate".
The unannounced August inspection also found a record in the file of one patient, who required a moist diet, that they suffered a choking incident after being served an unsuitable meal.
Inspectors said patients were routinely screened for the risk of malnutrition on admission to some of the wards, but they were not always re-screened.
The hospital had not audited the nutrient content and portion sizes of meals as recommended in the national guidelines.
Another report of an unannounced inspection of Beaumont Hospital in Dublin in August said patients were routinely screened for the risk of malnutrition on admission to some of the wards. However, it was not always carried out in a timely manner.
Some patients said they needed bigger portions and a small number reported that they had not always got what they had ordered.
A third unannounced inspection in August at University Hospital Limerick also discovered that while all hospitals checked for potential malnutrition within 24 hours of admission, patients at UHL were not always re-screened weekly.
Most patients were complimentary about the choice, taste and temperature of food and drinks available in the hospital.
But some patients said meal times, which included a midday meal at noon and evening meal at 4.15pm, were too early.
Not all patients who needed assistance were offered it in a prompt manner and there was no system in place to alert catering staff as to which patients should be helped.
Patients said there were unnecessary interruptions to mealtimes from hospital staff and visitors, and this practice was observed by inspectors.
Not all menus offered to patients were checked for nutrient content by the hospital's own internal auditors.