Yesterday I wrote to our local MP, I'd appreciate your comments:
I am writing to express my disgust and shear disappointment with the situation we are currently in at present. I have sent this email to the school, catering company and the NGH dietitian. Due to the severity of this I believe you should should be aware what is happening in our schools also. My step daughter Abi, a pupil at Castle Academy, is a Type 1 diabetic. I contacted Nourish in August 2014 and enquired as to whether they would be able to accommodate her for school meals. I was assured that this was possible and was provided the Nutritional Information Breakdown by Gemma Blore. For the first few months we had no problems but at the end of November Abi started having hypo’s after school. Hypo/Hypoglycaemia is low blood sugar with a reading lower than 4. If the hypo isnt detected and treated immediately then it will leave Abi unconscious and requiring emergency medical treatment. I suspected that there had been a change to the meals withoutnotifying me so I contacted Gemma. Gemma then told me that the catering team at Castle Academy wasn’t aware of Abi’s special dietary requirements and sent me forms to complete. I have no idea how this can of happened as Nourish were aware of our situation in August. At no point was I ask to complete a form nor provide evidence of Abi’s condition. Abi had not been given a red plate so the staff serving her meals have had no idea that they were serving a child with a serious condition. I returned all the paperwork to Gemma over the Christmas period yet on 5th January I received a response insinuating that the cause of the problem was that I was giving her incorrect insulin ratios, not the portion sizes being incorrect as previously discussed. In fact there was no mention of our conversation regarding portion sizes yet information that the meals hadn’t been changed therefore there was no change to the nutritional values! I am seriously struggling to understand on whatplanet would a nutritionist question a parent on their child’s insulin intake. I am horrified such suggestion has been made, a completely uneducated suggestion at that! If Abi was having too much insulin at lunch time hypos would occur every day of the week, not just Monday to Friday term time. I discussed my concerns with the Diabetes team at the hospital on Monday and both the Consultant and the Dietitian agreed that the problem revolved around incorrect portion sizes. Abi was having the amount of insulin required based of the carbs value provided by Nourish, however this was not the portion size on her plate. Until the matter was resolved we agreed to count 20% less carbs for her school meals, however this left her hyper last night, a blood sugar reading that was too high, double what it should be infact. The school meals actually arrive almost an hour late to school yesterday, leaving Abi having a different meal (which was cooked at the schoolinstead) Luckily the school themselves are on the ball with Abi’s diabetes and called me for the different carb value for the change of meal. Upon discussing this with Abi last night she told me that sometimes she receives 1 half of a jacket potato and other times 2 halves!! As parent of both a T1 child and a non T1 child I feel this is disgusting from both angles. If I am paying for my child to be given a hot school meal then this should be a proper portion. This is clearly the reasons for Abi’s hypo’s! I am giving her insulin for a whole potato yet she is only being given half! This also supports the allegation that portion sizes are being cut so more children are being fed for less money. I am gob smacked that this is happening right under our noses. After speaking to Lorna Beard, Head Teacher at Castle Academy she has assured me that there will be a red plate for Abi tomorrow and that the Chef will plate Abi’s dinner up in the kitchen, asopposed to by the serving staff, to ensure it is correct. I wish for her meal to be weighed and will be monitoring her blood sugars and attending the school myself to ensure the above is happening. The only downside to this change is that Abi will now have to eat with the younger children as opposed to her year group however Lorna has kindly said that she will allow Abi to have a few friends have lunch with her at the same time so doesn’t feel like she is being singled out due to her diabetes.
I cannot believe my child’s health has been jeopardized over someone else’s negligence. No parent should have to worry about their child’s food consumption whilst at school. Surely potential caterers are screened and vetted prior to winning a contract of supply school meal’s, that of a correct portion and meeting all dietary needs. I dread to think how much money is being made off the parents of children at Castle Academy. Is this really what it has come to? Children’s needs ignored and food portion sizes cut for profit?
I look forward to your response
What do you think?