Survey of patients pans hospital food

20 October 2006
Survey of patients pans hospital food

The Government is facing renewed calls to overhaul hospital food after a major study revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the standard of catering.

The Food Watch survey of more than 2,200 patients, by Patient and Public Involvement Forums, revealed that more than a third left a meal because it looked, smelt or tasted unappetising.

More than one in five of the patients questioned were given meals that were not warm enough or too hot, while 18% didn't get the choice of meal they wanted.

The survey also showed that more than a quarter of respondents were not receiving the help they need to eat their meals, while 40% had their hospital meals supplemented by food brought in by visitors.

Sharon Grant, chair of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, said the results call into question the effect of the Government's £40m Better Hospital Food programme, which was scrapped in May after five years.

"Hospital food has been subjected to more initiatives than it tries to provide hot dinners. But it still remains a joke. Patients aren't laughing, and it's about time NHS and foundation trusts found the right punch line," she said. "We will be sending the results to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt in the hope that she can do for hospital food what Jamie Oliver did for school meals."

Alison McCree, chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), labelled the results disappointing and called on NHS trusts to not let the food-quality issue "fall off the radar".

"Many of the issues cited by patients in relation to their satisfaction with meals, such as cold, late or wrong meals, could be dramatically reduced by adopting practical measures," she said. "For example, the
HCA believes that ward housekeepers or ‘hostesses' should be more widely deployed to work alongside nursing staff on every ward."

What patients want

  • Frequent changes in menu - especially for those in long-term care.
  • National standards.
  • Fresh food, prepared and presented to encourage and satisfy appetite, recuperation and dietary needs.
  • Choice - for all patients, not just for those first in the queue.
  • Meals served at the correct temperature.

Source: Patient and Public Involvement Forums

Hospital catering survey shows patient dissatisfaction >>

By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

Get your copy of Caterer and Hotelkeeper every week -

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 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