Campaigners have called on the Government to introduce mandatory standards for hospital food.

Hospital meals should have compulsory nutritional standards, said the Campaign for Better Hospital Food.

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A new report by the group states that since 1992, governments have introduced 21 “failed” voluntary initiatives to improve hospital food, costing more than £54 million.

Presenter Loyd Grossman, who has previously advised the Government on hospital food standards, backed the campaign, saying that ministers should stop using voluntary initiatives.

Grossman said: “Serving fresh and nutritious hospital food is vital to improving patient health, and to raising morale - amongst NHS staff, patients and their families.

“There has not yet been a noticeable change in the way hospital food is produced, prepared, cooked and served. I welcome the publication of this report and hope that it prompts the Government to take a new and effective approach to improving hospital food, including by requiring it to meet mandatory standards.”

Alex Jackson, co-ordinator at the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “This report must serve as a lesson to Jeremy Hunt that simply publishing recommendations for the improvement of hospital food isn’t good enough, as every one of his predecessors in the last 20 years has found out.

“It’s time for the Government to take effective action by introducing mandatory standards for patient meals.”

In October last year, Mr Hunt introduced a set of standards to ensure that patients receive nutritious and appetising food throughout their hospital stay.

He said that food and drink should be available at all times of the day - not just meal times.

Patients should also have the choice from a varied menu - including meals suitable for religious needs, he said.

Catering staff should also reduce the fat and salt content in food and introduce more fruit and vegetables.

Hospitals will be inspected to ensure that they are adhering to the guidance.

Teams of inspectors, half of whom will be patients, will examine the taste, quality and temperature of food as well as the cleanliness of ward kitchens.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “We believe that the best decisions on hospital food are those taken locally by chefs and catering managers rather than having centrally imposed standards. There are many fantastic examples of really good food across the NHS thanks to forward-thinking and innovative staff.”

Leave your experiences of hospital food in the comment section below.

15 comments

  • I was in the N+N in Oct 2011. I was there to give birth to my daughter and unfortunately had to stay in for three days. While I couldn't find a fault with the team of midwifes that looked after me, the food was atrocious. I was constantly hungry, and as a new mum trying to breast feed I found this unacceptable. Not only was there not enough food but the food that was there was horrible. I only ate it as I was so hungry. The food was tasteless and over cooked, many people had food brought from outside with some eating take away pizza! I could not wait to get home and mainly because of the lack of food.

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    Sabbath1983

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

  • It is several years since I was in the James Paget and I hope things have changed. The menus were confusing-random made up names for main dishes which did not convey the content, the food was really really salty and the general standard was low canteen level.And some stroke patients would have starved if relatives had not come in to feed them because the nursing staff did not in general bother. A relative was in a Huntingdonshire hospital recently There the staff and patients apparently get fed the same grub-which was pretty dire eg corned beef hash-a sloppy salty mess of baked beans, mashed potato and a little corned beef baked in the oven.Hardly healthy nor anywhere pleasant to eat. The worst hospital food I have encountered was in maternity wards where because of the high turnover of patients in the beds, new mothers would find themselves after maybe 12 or more hours without food, exhausted and needing to build up energy to breast feed and look after baby, being offered what the previous bed occupant had ordered or if they didn't like that, a curled edged cheese sandwich. I hope that has changed.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Nothing wrong with the food at NNUH ( or Addenbrookes ). During my times there i never heard a single patient complain about it. Not one.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I have two relatives in hospital at presenton two different wards and they have both said that food at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital always arives cold and you can't always eat it. The staff are aware of the problem but the food staff don't seem to listen.

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    sibs Wesley

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I could not fault the food when I was in the Norwich & Norfolk Hospital it was just the right amount and the variety was OK

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    Derek McDonald

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Addenbrookes ( the ground floor Concourse ) has a Burger King , Costa Coffee , numerous fast food and cake shops ....some open all night. While receiving top class care there i would often wander down for a bag of chips and a sausage roll at night. Nothing wrong with the ward food though.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • The small trolleys who reheat the food are run on batteries, they are notoriously overworked. The N&N was rapped over the knuckles for their food, low nutrition, very often delivered cold. Private patients and nurses get their food cooked in the canteen, whilst the patients, who need the nutrition to get better and recuperate get tasteless food with very little nutrition. Anybody wanting to provide home cooked food to the wards, delivering on order to those who want to pay for it, are not allowed to compete with the bland service, why not?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Daisy Boots.....far from being " too tired and weak to complain." all my patients left fighting fit and with a renewed energy for life , better educated , amazed at my curative powers and full of optimism. Apart from the ones that died. And there is nothing wrong with a Fray Bentos pie...i should point out to you that these contain so much goodness and throbbing amounts of protein they have to be contained in a steel box to prevent the contents leaping out.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I'm all for Mcdonuts or someone similar to move into the N&N and provide local prepared and cooked food.

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    nrg

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Some hospitals 'regenerate' the patients food. Sounds horrible.....

    Report this comment

    tigger449

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • This is just another recycled news story from a few years..Loyd Grossman was then called in by nuLabour to highlight the nutrient and costs of the ready made meals served up in PFI built hospitals, looks like nothing has changed but the meat content ...horse of course.

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    nrg

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • my granny died through lack of food at the NNUH, she couldnt feed herself easily and no-one cared to make sure she had eaten

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    siouxie twig

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I have just listened to this very discussion on Radio Norfolk. If you are someone who normally lives on ready meals and junk food at home then you will have nothing to complain about at the N & N hospital. All the food in there is re-heated on the wards, having been brought in by road from Cambidge everyday. How can this be described as healthy and nutritious? It is like congealed gloop and I think it is madness that no ktchens for patients food were built when the N & N was planned. It's not a case of people moaning (and those who are happy to eat instant meals will not complain) it is a case of hospitals providing food which will look attractive to ill people, which will actually sustain them and lead to a fast recovery.

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    samphirelover

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • And Larson's patients were probably too tired and weak to complain. As heshe is a health professional ( I think) he should be aware that people who are sick and vulnerable and dependent on others to care for them are less likely to complain to or about those doing the job than a healthy independent person might do. Inpatients have a false feeling of gratitude-partly engendered by the decade long pro nursing propaganda-and don't reflect too much on shortcomings until they are recuperating or have left hospital A good health professional would take a step back and assess whether patients were eating and also take an objective look at the nutritional value of their meal choices and whether meals were palatable. If the health professional is accustomed to pot noodles and Fray Bentos pies then they will think hospital food is ok.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I work on a ward at the NNUH and the food is shocking, you just need to look at comments on discharge main three, food, staff shortages and noise..........but seniors are only interested if inspection team are around. However staffvisitor food is good

    Report this comment

    Brookes

    Friday, February 22, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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