HealthShare NSW – Packaging Accessibility Rating Compliance Audit

If you are a current food service supplier to the NSW health system under the Food Services 801 Contract you may need to complete the Packaging Accessibility Rating Database Compliance Audit.



HealthShare NSW Compliance Audit - Survey Stage

The first stage of the audit requires current suppliers to fill in a survey to indicate if their product/s are currently compliant or non-compliant to the Packaging Accessibility Rating requirement of the Food Services 801 Contract.

Following this stage a review process will be undertaken to ensure that products identified as compliant in the survey are accurate. Companies with non-compliant products will also be provided with further information to assist them with becoming compliant.

Do I need to complete the Survey for my products?

You will need to complete the Compliance Audit – Survey Stage if your single serve food and drink product/s are currently on the HealthShare NSW Food Services 801 Contract and have packaging which patients would open for themselves. This includes portion controlled products like biscuits, yogurt tubs, bottled water, etc. (excluding secondary packaging). These products need to be assessed and issued with a Packaging Accessibility Rating, which estimates the percentage of the population who can safely open the packaging and read the labelling, including allergen warnings.

HealthShare NSW has contracted the Accessibility Design Division of Arthritis Australia to conduct the compliance audit. If your products need to have a Packaging Accessibility Rating for the contract, then a member of your company would have received an email with an attached letter that identified these products.

If you are unsure if your products need to complete the survey or their compliance status, then please contact the Division.

What information do I need to complete the survey?

Before completing the survey please have ready:

  • Company contact information (the survey can be completed multiple times by different brands if required)
  • Compliance status of the product/s
    • Compliant product/s
      • Have any product ISR report/s at the ready, you will need:
        • Packaging Accessibility Rating e.g. -8 to +8 Rating or Easy to Open (ETO) certified status
        • Rating ID code e.g. EW DS01 or EW DS01 SS01
        • Date the product was last tested
        • Products status – has the packaging been changed at all since it was last tested?
      • Product ordering code e.g. Manufacturing ID or GTIN 
    • Non-compliant product/s
      • Intention to comply and the time frame you intend to comply
      • Reason for non-compliance status

Please note:

  • The survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes to complete.
  • It may require additional time for multiple products.
  • You cannot save the form and go back to it.

Up to 16 products can be included in the survey. If you have over 16 products, then a spreadsheet can be provided to assist with this process.


Background information: Importance of accessible food packaging for patients

Food packaging can be a major barrier to patient nutrition, because if patients can’t open the packaging, they can’t eat the food inside. This in turn increases food waste and most importantly can result in poorer patient nutrition1.

Research conducted in NSW hospitals revealed that 1-in-2 patients have some form of malnutrition2, which can double hospital stays and triple complications. Hard-to-open packaging contributes to this issue. Over 80% of elderly patients experienced difficulties or were unable to open one or more food packaging items3. Nearly 50% of patients of all ages struggled to open food packaging an average of three items3. Most importantly, according to a 2014 study conducted in a Tasmanian hospital, only 1-in-3 patients who experienced difficulty opening packaging asked for assistance, making it critical that consumers receive packaging they can open.

In response to these findings, HealthShare NSW has put the patient at the centre of the procurement process by mandating that single serve food and beverage products on this tender provide their Packaging Accessibility Ratings (Rating), which show how easily their products can be opened by patients, many of whom are frail, aged or unwell. This information is then considered when selecting between different products listed on the Packaging Accessibility Ratings Database.

1 Peter Garling ‘Acute Care Services NSW Public Hospitals’, Garling Report 2008
2 Nutrition Matters – Diagnostic Report – Northern Sydney & Central Coast Health District 2007
3 According to multiple patient studies in NSW Hospitals 2011-2015, HealthShare NSW 2015

To find out more download:

HealthShare NSW – Packaging Accessibility Rating Fact Sheet

Need more information?

Find out more information about receiving a Packaging Accessibility Rating or learn about other testing services by contacting the Accessible Design Division.