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Child cancer ward food poor

3rd June 2008

A poll

childrenhospital1 has found that 77% of the parents of children who are treated on cancer wards described the food provided as "unsuitable for sick children".

The survey was carried out by charity CLIC Sargent, who also revealed that 90 of the 92 parents stated they had brought "extra food" to their children.

90% of the hospital-based CLIC Sargent staff reported that they had "received complaints" about meals.

Over a third - 41% - said the meals the hospital provided were "poor" or "very poor".

CLIC Sargent also interviewed children who were treated at hospitals. Meals were described as "toxic"and "disgusting".

CLIC Sargent chief executive Carole Easton said: "No parent should be compelled to bring in their own food."

"Urgent action is needed to ensure that the NHS is meeting the specific food needs of children and young people with cancer."

Dr Easton said hospital trusts should ensure a "champion" was appointed to make certain children ate properly and the quality of food was maintained.

Hospital Caterers Association chairman Neil Watson-Jones said that appointing a food champion was a good plan.

He emphasised the fact that it was crucial to ensure children ate "something" and that they would "accommodate" requests for changes to the food served.

A Department of Health spokesperson said they understood that this was "a priority issue".

The Department of Health and the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence have provided guidance for hospitals in order to improve the food given to children with cancer.


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