Poor food fines for hospitals14th April 2008
The government plans to impose fines or shut down hospitals which provide their patients with substandard meals
Hospitals in Cornwall said patients got better faster after they were given food from local suppliers. The Royal Brompton Hospital in London provided its patients with organic meals and reported similar positive effects.
The government said hospital trusts needed to cook fresh ingredients from local providers. Those hospitals which consistently failed to give their patients adequate meals could be fined, suspended or shut down.
A Healthcare Commission report published last week showed that many elderly patients were at risk of malnutrition.
The report looked at more than 10,000 complaints from August 2006 to July 2007. Many patients were not helped to eat and were given substandard meals.
Age Concern has published research which found that six out of 10 elderly people are in danger of being malnourished in hospital.
"Ending the scandal of malnourished older people in hospitals will save lives," an Age Concern spokeswoman stated.
Research by the Department of Health is due to be published later in 2008 and is thought to show that high quality meals are linked to improved recovery rates.
Health minister Ben Bradshaw stated that the quality of hospital meals should be improved.
"A good, varied diet is all the more important when you are poorly," he said to the Independent on Sunday. "We want to see more hospitals and care homes emulating the best. There are still some that are not acceptable."
The new plans will be included in the Health and Social Care Bill which is being considered by Parliament.
When the Care Quality Commission replaces the Healthcare Commission next year it will be able to set legislation and enforce meal standards.
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Title: Poor food fines for hospitals
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 6330
Date Added: 14th Apr 2008