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New standards for hospital food

16th October 2012

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced new standards for patients to expect from NHS hospital food.

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A list of standards which apply to food quality, nutrition and choice will be supported by a patient-led assessment system.

They include patients' ability to choose from a "varied menu" which supports religious requirements, the availability of food and drink "at all times" rather than set meal hours, "nutritious and appetising" food and "access to fresh drinking water at all times". 

Age UK, Hospital Caterers Association, Royal College of Nursing, Soil Association, British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Patients Association and the British Dietetic Association have all supported the new principles.

A pilot of the assessment system has already started to pinpoint which areas concerning health service hospital food matter to patients. 

Half of the assessment teams will be made up of patients and they will begin the assessments next April, following the review of the pilot's results.

Mr Hunt said: "Patients should be treated with dignity and respect. They have the right to expect food that is of high quality and healthy – and that it has been prepared in a clean kitchen."

"There are lots of hospitals already doing this, but in some places, the NHS falls short. Patients deserve the highest standards, and by making sure they lead the inspections, we will put their experience at the heart of improving the NHS."

 

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