Hospital hits back at poor food standards claims

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

WIGAN Infirmary bosses have hit back at claims by that they do not know where the food they serve is sourced from, saying that more than 90 per cent of their meat comes from British suppliers.

An investigation by the Farmers Weekly newspaper claimed that there are “serious failings in the way British hospitals are sourcing food for patients” and said that Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL)

were “unable to tell us which countries supplied their patients’ meals nor could they tell us how much of their food is bought from British farmers.”

The FW sent Freedom of Information requests to 200 hospital trusts to find out how much British food NHS trusts were sourcing.

They also said that WWL has the ninth lowest daily budget for patient’s meals at just £2.49 per day and that the trust “have not yet decided whether to even try to meet voluntary Government Buying Standards which set a minimum target of meeting UK farm production, animal welfare and traceability assurance levels.”

However, WWL have hit back at the claims which they say were asked by the FW in January.

A spokesman for WWL said: “WWL’s patient meal costs are low as this figure in the FOI response does not include any staffing costs.

“It could be would suggested that other trusts have provided the total cost per day which includes labour.

“This would explain the discrepancies (WWL £7.91). The figure is also low as the budget is subsidised with additional income that WWL receives from producing for other Trust’s and organisations. The higher purchasing power keeps our food costs low.

“WWL produce all our own meals and over 90 per cent of all our meat comes from British suppliers.

“The information on buying standards is untrue as we are actively working towards achieving them. In our last audit the WWL was meeting approximately 80 per cent of the standards with the few remaining gaps being looked at by our Trust procurement, energy and waste management colleagues.”

The FW say UK farmers are missing out on millions in food contracts and that they are campaigning for health thrusts to use local suppliers.