New Brunswick — With waiting lists that span months, hospital cafeterias in New Brunswick are becoming known as the most sought-after locations to eat in all of Canada. “You can’t get into those places,” complained Arthur Combrie, a 32-year-old who’s been waiting for a colonoscopy for 8 weeks. “My doctor was telling me all about early detection and I was all like ‘sign me up.’ I’ve only heard amazing things about the restaurants in the hospital here — people are practically killing themselves to get in.”
Our reporter was able to obtain a visitor’s pass to the Chalmers hospital in Fredericton to confirm its popularity, though the pass didn’t grant access to the cafeteria. The hospital was indeed full of patrons waiting for their taste of the succulent offerings from the onsite eatery. Rooms normally reserved for 4 people were shifted to accommodate 6, hallways were filled with customers relaxing in beds waiting for their menus and even maintenance closets were being used to house the eager foodies.
Restaurant waitresses, known in the hospital as “nurses,” are struggling to keep up with demand. “I’ve been working for 16 hours straight and haven’t been able to get a single person to leave,” said Abigail Munson, a registered nurse/waitress at the DECH. “I’m totally convinced that half these people are just pretending to need medical care so they can take advantage of our amazing selection of Jell-O.”
“It’s getting really out of hand,” expressed Dr. Olivia Jones. “Our rooms are full of people who don’t need to be here — people just here for the meals. We need to free these rooms up for those who actually need medical attention, not people who are wondering what our soup of the day is.”
Jones thinks the provincial government should be looking into what makes hospital eateries so popular, and implement the findings into the creation of long-term housing for interested customers. “I get it — the food here is fantastic. So, maybe we need to look at building new nursing homes that have the means to accommodate top-of-the-line dining experiences like those available in hospitals,” suggested Jones. “There are plenty of people here who would be able to get the care they require and the meals they crave elsewhere, which would free up our beds and alleviate the stress that our waitresses — I mean nurses — are dealing with.”
Restaurant owners around the province are trying to duplicate the success seen at New Brunswick hospitals. “They’re booked solid all the time,” marvelled Joshua Kingston, owner of The Keg in Moncton. “It’s unbelievable what people are willing to do to eat there. I know a friend of mine who waited over 7 hours to be admitted after being diagnosed with kidney stones. He told me it was all worth it, though, once he got his mashed potatoes and Salisbury steak.”
Health Minister Victor Boudreau says that the Gallant government is happy with the current situation and sees no immediate need to build any new restaurants/care facilities. “We don’t want to saturate our good fortunes,” he said heartily. “Our hospital cafeterias are performing to record profits right now, so it would be silly to build new locations that would cut into our margins.”
Boudreau even went as far as suggesting that the Liberal leadership is considering a slogan for the province’s healthcare system: “Come for the care, stay for the tapioca.”