Patient denied kosher food

Frankston Hospital.

A PATIENT at Frankston Hospital claims she has been refused kosher meals for more than a week.

Fiona, whose surname has been withheld for privacy reasons, told The AJN this Tuesday that she has been requesting kosher food every day but that it is being denied to her and she is trying to do her best by buying food from the canteen.

“I’m just getting basic bread, because I know I can, and the chaplain gave me an electric candle instead of a candle for Shabbat, but apart from that I can’t get anything kosher or Jewish,” Fiona, who has been in the hospital for more than a week, told The AJN.

“I’m trying to have food as kosher as possible by not eating pig, not mixing milk and meat and only eating what I really have to eat, but this isn’t fair and I should be allowed kosher food in a public hospital.”

The AJN contacted Peninsula Health, which runs the Frankston Hospital, and was told that the patient was at fault because the hospital has no record of her requesting kosher food when she was admitted to ­hospital.

“Peninsula Health is in the process of examining the provision of kosher meals to serve a growing Jewish ­community on the Peninsula,” the company’s director of support services Jenny Nicholson said.

“No kosher dietary request was received from this patient upon admission.”

However, The AJN was first made aware that Fiona was not being provided with kosher food more than a week ago and since that time nothing has changed.

According to Chabad House of Frankston’s Rabbi Levi Bondar this isn’t a new problem.

“It’s a regular occurrence at Frankston Hospital,” he said.

“They usually say they can’t offer kosher food or that it will take a while, and by the time they get around to trying to organise it, [the patients] are out of the hospital so they don’t do it.”

Rabbi Bondar said Peninsula Health has not taken any steps to resolve the problem, and that on a number of occasions he has picked up food from a kosher shop in Melbourne and taken it to the hospital himself.

“Every year we have a few cases and I tried to speak to someone, but they wouldn’t do anything about it and nothing ever changes.

“It’s frustrating because these are hospitals further away from Melbourne that provide kosher food but for some reason at Frankston they say they can’t do it.”

JOSHUA LEVI