WIGAN hospital patients are being fed THREE meals for less than £2.50 a day.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust confirmed that during 2009/2010, the average daily cost per patient was just £2.49.
While this is not the worst spend in a UK hospital, it is certainly not the best.
The average cost nationally for a meal in prison is £2.10.
With a patient catering budget of £2.4 million which is set to reduce during the next financial year, bosses at the hospital said all meals met nutritional targets and were checked by dieticians.
However, many Wiganers disagree according to comments on our Facebook site.
Karen Hill from Marsh Green said: “I was not at all happy with the standard of food in Wigan infirmary when I spent six days in Maternity.
“There was no choice whatsoever, you no longer get a menu where you can choose, often the food is cold and when it’s a sandwich meal that’s offered, it’s generally stale.
“The service needs hauling into the 21st century.”
Jackie Watson from Hindley added: “My father-in-law has been in hospital since January.
“He’s hardly eaten anything because it’s tasteless, dry or unappealing and he is not a fussy eater.”
The majority of hospital food is produced in house to keep costs low according to the Trust.
Including manual labour, the cost to feed one patient rose to £8.54 in 2009/2010.
Tracy Hilton from Orrell says she was served a stale tuna sandwich despite telling the ward she was coeliac.
She said: “I was in recently having key hole surgery and was in for two days.
“I had missed my dinner due to having to be sent down for scans and they didn’t give me anything proper afterwards.
“They did offer me a yoghurt and a stale tuna sandwich which I couldn’t eat as I’m a coeliac so I had to starve till my family brought me something during visiting hours, they knew I was a coeliac but they just didn’t seem to care.”
Andrew Gaskell from Wigan said: “The standard is appalling, I recently spent a few days there and there was no change from 18 months ago when I was in for three weeks.
“I am vegetarian and have coeliac disease and had to make regular complaints about the food.”
A spokesman for WWL NHS said: “The approximate cost to feed a patient per day is £2.49.
“This is an average cost to feed a patient for a day.
“It needs to be understood that many of our patients are nil by mouth, due to medical or surgical procedures, so do not eat.
“We work closely with other local Trusts and our local authority, to achieve excellent high quality provisions at the lowest possible prices.
“Some of our suppliers are local to the area.
“As a Trust, we produce the majority of our food in-house which enables food costs to be kept low.
“WWL also provide meals to other organisations such as sandwiches to local high schools and meals to local luncheon clubs at day care centres.
“The revenue from this provision is put back into the Trust’s services.
“In 2009/10 the total patient catering budget was £2.44 million but due to efficiencies made, such as improved procurement and organisational changes, the budget will reduce for 2011/12.
“All patient meals meet nutritional guidelines and are checked by Trust dieticians to ensure all the essential nutrients can be met. “All menus offer ‘5 a Day target’ and healthier options are indicated on menus.
“Nursing staff monitor any patients not eating and dieticians then prescribe other foods or feeding interventions.
“In addition, the food that is served to our patients is exactly the same food that is served to our staff and visitors in our canteens.
“The Trust achieved the Borough Healthy Business Award in 2009 and patient satisfaction with meals was measured at 93 per cent good to excellent in 2009/10 and 95 per cent in 2010/11.”