Trust hits back at food claims

Hospital food
Hospital food

HOSPITAL chiefs have defended the food they serve after a patients campaign group claimed trusts are hiding patient dissatisfaction.

The Campaign for Better Hospital Food said NHS Trusts routinely rated their own food highly.

But patient surveys showed nearly half of people were dissatisfied with what they were offered to eat.

However, Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) which runs all three of Wigan’s hospital sites, says its food was freshly produced and locally sourced.

A spokesman for WWL said: “We would never hide behind statistics when publishing satisfaction figures. We welcome feedback about all our services and respond appropriately to both positive and negative comments.

“Our Catering Department was recently awarded a ‘Highly commended’ for Hospital Team of the Year from the Hospital Caterers Association.

“They were also awarded the Borough Healthy Business Award in 2009 for their work to improve the health of many dishes. Our patient menus contain many more healthier options because of this work, although we still have our homemade pies to tempt appetites.”

The campaigners want mandatory standards introduced for hospital food, like those which already exist for prisons and schools.

In the past, NHS staff in England have carried out annual assessments of the quality of hospital food.

In 2011 they rated nearly 98 per cent of meals as “good” or “excellent”.

The inspection system is now changing, but the Campaign for Better Hospital Food points to a survey of more than 64,000 patients carried out by the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, earlier this year.

In that survey just 55 per cent of patients said the food they had been served was “good”. Alex Jackson, co-ordinator 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 school food. Surely patients have the same right to good food as government ministers, school kids and prisoners?”