CHARGING patients for food is one option the Government may turn to in the future, according to Tom Sackville, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (pictured left).
Mr Sackville told the conference the Government had not ruled out the possibility of passing the cost of meals on to patients. "We have prescription charges and dental charges, so why not some form of food charges?" he said.
He went on to justify competitive tendering for NHS catering contracts, describing the policy as the only way to ensure quality and value.
"The NHS will continue to be under greater financial pressure and we have to keep saving money," said Mr Sackville.
PATIENT hotels will become more common in the UK, according to one of the administrators responsible for one such hotel being built in Liverpool.
Alan Wilks, director of business and finance at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, where a 100-bed patient hotel is due to open in June next year, told delegates it cost ú120 a night for someone to stay in a hospital ward bed. His projections for a patient hotel were for ú50 a night.
HOSPITALS should consider moving away from operating huge cyclical menus, which confuse patients and give them too much choice, a leading academic told the conference.
Instead, they should act more like restaurants, maintaining a core standard menu with a smaller number of dishes permanently available, according to Professor Brian Moores, director of the Institute of Services Management at the University of Manchester.