Food for patients has to get better
9:30am Monday 26th August 2013 in Latest News
DESPITE efforts to improve its image in recent years, hospital food is often seen as being on a par with school meals and aeroplane food.
And a new survey has shown that only half of the patients treated at the Great Western Hospital Trust were satisfied with the food they received.
This is despite staff at the hospital rating the food as excellent in an official assessment carried out internally.
The figures were released by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, which is calling the on the government to introduce mandatory standards for hospital food.
In a survey, carried out by the Care Quality Commission, patients were asked how they felt about the hospital’s food and only 5.1 out of every 10 people asked said they would rate it as good.
This leaves the GWH trust ranked 124 out of the 156 hospitals surveyed. In terms of choice, 8.1 said they were offered a selection of meals, leaving the trust 121st.
A spokeswoman for the trust said: ““Food and drink in hospital is an essential part of the health, wellbeing and recovery of our patients, and at Great Western Hospital we work with Carillion to provide healthy, nutritious and appetising options for patients.”
The campaign group is accusing hospitals of covering up the real standards of food by giving themselves top marks.
Annual PEAT assessments of the quality of hospital food carried out by hospital staff show that 99 per cent of patient meals are rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, with only two out of 156 NHS Hospital Trusts in England reporting that their food did not meet this standard.
However, GWH says it works closely with patients to make sure the food is up to a high standard and say the PEAT test has been replaced.
The spokeswoman said: “We have a nutrition steering group run by senior nurses who regularly monitor food standards, carry out spot checks, and where improvements are needed we work closely with Carillion to address them.
“Recently we have also been encouraging patients to fill out food diaries whilst with us, so we can ensure that as well as the food, their whole mealtime experience is positive.
“This covers choice and quality, but also the temperature of the food, presentation, portion size, what improvements they think are needed, and also ensuring patients are being given the right support and assistance during mealtimes.”
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.”
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