Hornsby Hospital patients now have a wider choice of meals and more flexibility to order according to their appetite.

The hospital became one of the first in the State to introduce My Food Choice last week – doing away with the old requirement for patients to order their meals the day before they eat them.

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​Using the new system, staff members give each patient a pictorial menu - governed by any clinical dietary requirements - and take their order just two hours before meal time. The order is logged on a mobile device and transmitted to the kitchen for instant action.

The staff member who takes the order prepares and delivers the meal, building accountability and creating a more personalised service.

Carmen Rechbauer, director of Food and Patient Support Services for HealthShare NSW, which manages the provision of meals to patients, said My Food Choice was the biggest change to hospital food in decades.

"We aim to make the meal experience a highlight of each patient's stay," she said.

Northern Sydney Local Health District interim chief executive Deb Willcox said: "HealthShare NSW works in close in partnership with our hospitals, services and local clinicians ensuring My Food Choice meets the needs of our patients.

"My Food Choice gives patients a wide variety of meals that are both nutritious and tasty," she said.

"Patients can choose from interesting new meals like a salmon fillet, butter chicken and spicy beef rendang or select old favourites like a roast dinner with all the trimmings.

"They can choose from nine different soups every day or a freshly prepared salad or sandwich if they would like something lighter. There is also a vegetarian menu with 11 hot choices at every meal," she said.

Executive director operations Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Health Service Lee Gregory said meal time was very important to patients.

"My Food Choice is the next step in our constant efforts to improve the hospital experience for our patients," he said.

"Under the previous production line model, patients ordered their meals the day before and this often resulted in diminished patient enjoyment and a high level of food wastage. The new system means patients can choose the meal they feel like at the time."

My Food Choice will be introduced at all other public hospitals by the end of 2019.