Government urged to go back to basics on hospital food

05 January 2010 by
Government urged to go back to basics on hospital food

Industry leaders have urged the Government to go "back to basics" after a report warned that more than £50m has been wasted on efforts to improve hospital food.

The report, entitled A Decade of Hospital Food Failure](, found that the 17 separate schemes introduced since 2000 have resulted in almost no improvement to the quality, healthiness and environmental value of hospital food.

In particular, the research commissioned by health and environmental charity Sustain criticised the Government's refusal to introduce legal guidelines as they have in schools.

Kevan Wallace, chair of the Hospital Caterers Association, said that although hospital food should not be looked at in the same way as school catering, there are some standards he would welcome, such as a mandatory minimum spend on food costs.

"The Government has missed a trick by not ring-fencing hospital food money in the way it has with medicine budgets," he said. "By ensuring there's a minimum spend of £2.50 on food costs, all hospitals would be starting from a level playing field."

He went on to emphasise the importance of recognising the role of food in hospitals: "It should be ranked alongside medicine as an integral part of patient care," he added.

Mike Duckett, catering manager at London's Royal Brompton Hospital, stressed the importance of quality catering and suggested that standardisation could offer savings.

He said: "It doesn't matter if every hospital is serving a chicken pie, as long as the chicken pie is of a good standard. Purchasing costs could be reduced if everyone was ordering for the same menu too."

The £40m Better Hospital Food Initiative led by Lloyd Grossman was launched in 2001, but it was scrapped five years later following poor take-up.

Revolutionising hospital food >>

Grossman and friends will revitalise food in hospitals >>

Catering crisis in the NHS >>

By Janie Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Stamford here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to jobs
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with jobs

[Blogs on]( Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking