UK & World News
Hospital Food: Patients Reject NHS Boasts
Most hospitals claim they are serving five-star food to patients - but a survey reveals many patients disagree.
Three in five hospitals give themselves the highest possible rating for the standard of their food, figures show.
Out of 156 NHS hospital trusts in England 95 trusts rated the quality of the meals they served to patients as five-out-of-five.
But the Campaign for Better Hospital Food (CBHF) said that the figures were a dramatic contrast to an independent Care Quality Commission survey.
That survey showed that half of patients were dissatisfied with hospital food.
The CBHF has renewed its calls for introducing mandatory hospital food standards on quality and nutrition.
Alex Jackson, coordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: "It is time for the Government to come clean about the sorry state of hospital food in England and set mandatory standards for patient meals.
"This would only involve extending an existing policy which has seen it set mandatory standards for prison food and food served in Government departments, to go alongside those that already exist for school food.
"Surely patients recovering in hospital have the same right to good food as Government ministers, school kids and prisoners?"
A Department of Health spokesman said: "There are many fantastic examples of really good food across the NHS thanks to forward-thinking and innovative staff.
"But we recognise that there is too much variation across the country - that is why we have implemented a tough new inspection programme.
"With our army of thousands of patient assessors we will drive up standards and reduce variation in hospital food."
A spokeswoman for Patient Concern said: "The findings of this study are shocking. Over 10 years ago, the Department of Health recruited Patient Concern to join a team, headed by Loyd Grossman, to improve catering throughout the NHS.
"We spent tens of millions of pounds commissioning celebrity chefs to create new nutritious dishes, had special snack packaging designed for patients who didn't want full hot meals and developed some glossy menus.
"Patient Concern pointed out that unless all hospitals advised the Department of Health of the cost of implementing our plan and got ring-fenced budgets to do the job, we were wasting our time. Of course, we were ignored. Hence today's depressing report."