In Poor Health

17 Dec 2007

According to a survey by the consumer organization Which?, British hospital food is so poor that only one third of patients feel they are receiving the food they need for their recovery, one in four patients ask their relatives to bring in meals and 20 percent of staff would be unhappy to eat the meals served.

The survey has found that many of the thirteen million people that are admitted to British hospitals every year are offered unhealthy meals during their stay. Patients are also complaining that portions are too small and that hospitals are failing to cater for people with special diets, such as diabetics and the overweight. 41 per cent of patients were disappointed with hospital food and only 32 per cent believed they were provided with adequate nutrition for their recovery.

Michael Summers, a vice-chairman of the Patients’ Association, reported that previously ‘there had been quite a decent variety of food, people given menus the night before and the temperature of the food was taken. But cutbacks by hospitals have had a terrible effect.’ Summers stated that the quality of hospital food had improved until many hospitals began running up deficits and that, ‘it’s quite common now for hospital food to be sub-standard.’

The government’s £40 million Better Hospital Food campaign ran from 2001 to 2006 but was criticized earlier this year by Loyd Grossman who led the project. Grossman accused ministers of not giving enough priority to improving National Health Service catering and said that of the £40 million, ‘a relatively small amount went on food … with more consistent political will, it could have delivered bigger and longer-lasting results to patients’.

The Guardian

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