Hospital Food Concerns Lead To Review

Concerns About Hospital Food In The UK Have Led To A Review


Growing concerns about hospital food across the UK have led to a review of the area.

The new Hospital Food Standards panel, which will be announced on Friday November 8th and is being led by Age UK chair Dianne Jeffrey, will attempt to improve the quality of nutrition in meals given to inpatients at hospitals across the UK.

A recent survey of people in hospital shows that some 36 per cent who need help are not getting the assistance they need and in some extreme cases this could lead to malnutrition or weakness before risky surgical procedures.

But this is not the only concern for the panel and members will also seek to improve the presentation and taste of meals after campaigns by a group of celebrity chefs, perhaps most notably Fat Duck chef Heston Blumenthal.

Dianne Jeffrey said: "Eating and drinking well is such a crucial part of life, not just because of its nutritional content but also because of the comfort and enjoyment good food can bring. So to find yourself in hospital without control over what and when you eat and drink can be very distressing.

"Good nutrition and hydration are critical elements of hospital care and should be considered as important as medical treatment."

While Ms Jeffrey admitted that hospitals will never be able to provide 'five star' meals to patients, it is important that appetising food that will appeal to people of all ages is put on the menu.

But with the wide variety of meals needed for people in hospitals, especially for those either nil by mouth or with allergies, as well as cost savings put in place by the coalition government, it is likely the Hospital Food Standards panel will find it difficult to improve the quality of sustenance across the entire NHS.

The panel will report its findings by autumn next year and this will be used as guidance in regards to regulatory frameworks in the future.

Expert Opinion
This is a hugely important initiative and we welcome its launch. While it is not uncommon to see patients enter hospital wards with malnutrition or similar issues, it is hugely important that they are given the nutrition they require when they are being treated.

"All patients who enter hospital expect and deserve a high standard of safe care and that must extend right across the board to include issues such as the food and drink they are given.

"It is important that this initiative ensures all hospitals are providing high-quality nutritional food to their patients and we look forward to seeing the final report on this issue, as well as how improvements will be made in the future."
Lisa Jordan, Partner