Relatives of patients and the staff at Lok Nayak hospital can now have nutritious lunch from Delhi’s first automated kitchen for just Rs 10. Three meals a day are provided free of cost to the patients admitted to the hospital already.
“We wanted to provide the food free of cost to the staff as well. However, there would have been problems in implementation like checking the I-card or providing a coupon before every meal. The cost of implementation would have been more than the cost of food,” said Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain at the inauguration ceremony.
The health minister has assured that, if possible, the food would be made free for the staff member after a month of the trial run.
The hospital was able to extend the services to the relatives of the patients and staff members because of the automated kitchen it started 12 days ago. This is Delhi’s first automated hospital kitchen equipped with vegetable peelers and cutters, roti maker and rice cooker.
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“With the new kitchen, the meal preparation time has halved – from three hours it took earlier to one-and-a-half hour now. We also need less people in the kitchen now. Earlier we needed 25 people in each shift, which we did not have. Now, only 12 people can do all the work,” said Dr JC Passey medical director of Lok Nayak hospital.
“Earlier, we needed at least 10 people to just make the chapatis, we need only 3 people. Also, the machine can make up to 2,000 chapatis in just an hour,” Dr Passey said.
The kitchen provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to nearly 2,000 patients each day, with special therapeutic diet for patients with diabetes, heart conditions etc.
With staff members wearing aprons, gloves and caps, the food is prepared hygienically and then transported in insulated carts to the wards to be served to the patients.
The new kitchen was designed by the Delhi Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, which will constantly monitor the functioning to ensure that the standards are maintained.
As in corporate hospitals, Lok Nayak also aims to start packaging individual servings separately in the kitchen itself.
From planning to realisation, the project took around two years and cost the government more than R 1 crore.