Efforts to improve hospital food were celebrated today following the decision to financially reward hospitals that provide good, nutritious food to patients.
The Hospital Food Exemplar CQUIN (incentive payments for NHS trusts), initially announced in December 2013, gives hospitals a new opportunity to be rewarded for meeting recommended food standards, such as the Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark.
HRH the Prince of Wales spoke about the importance of good quality hospital food and his commitment to supporting these changes at a reception held today at Clarence House.
Co-hosts the Soil Association, of which the Prince of Wales is a patron, and the Department of Health (DH), were on-hand to hear details of the good work already being done in many hospitals across the NHS.
Dr Michael Dixon, president of the NHS Clinical Commissioners, said the introduction of a national quality incentive for hospitals to provide good food sends a message that proper nutrition in hospitals cannot be separated from the provision of good biomedical care.
"Achieving the CQUIN by meeting food standards, like the Food for Life Catering Mark, is an opportunity for commissioners and NHS Trusts to take steps to make lasting improvements to the food they offer to patients."
There have been many government-backed initiatives over the years to improve the quality and nutritional value of hospital food within tight budgetary constraints.
Last year a report by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food suggested that, despite £54m being ploughed into 21 schemes over the past 20 years, including those fronted by celebrity chefs such as Loyd Grossman and Albert Roux, there had been little change to patient meals.