Bake Off's Prue to advise new government review into hospital food standards

Henrietta Strickland
August 25, 2019

The Prime Minister said: "We get too many complaints from patients about the quality of the food and I think it does affect their experience when they are in hospital".

Albert Roux advised the Department of Health on how to improve hospital food back in 1995, while Lloyd Grossman led the government's Better Hospital Food initiative between 2001 and 2006.

It will look at hospitals that now have high food standards to see what other NHS trusts can learn from them.Hospital caterers, patient groups, suppliers and kitchen staff will be consulted - as well as national bodies such as the Soil Association and National Caterers Association to look at how Trusts can benefit more from local and fresh produce.

"I'm delighted that at long last Downing Street and the Department of Health have made a decision to do something about it".

"A hospital meal should be a small highlight, a little pleasure and comfort, and it should help, not hinder, the patient's recovery".

The review has been backed by celebrity chef Prue Leith who will act as an advisor.

A "root and branch" review launched by the Department of Health and Social Care on Friday will examine whether the number of hospitals catering in-house can be increased.

The review follows the deaths of 6 people linked to an outbreak of listeria in contaminated food earlier this year.

It will look at increasing the amount of in-house catering, as well as how hospitals can use less frozen food and more local, fresh produce.

The NHS in England serves more than 140 million meals to patients every year.

Mr Johnson added: "Some patients don't actually eat in hospital when they really do need to, because they do not feel the food is appetising enough, particularly elderly patients".

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "Years of austerity mean that some hospitals are only spending close to £3 per patient a day on meals for patients - it's an utter disgrace. I'm delighted we've assembled a first-rate group to drive this agenda". "He's going to be assisted from a culinary point of view by Prue Leith". The new standards will reflect government nutrition advice, as outlined in PHE's Eatwell guide. It aims to improve public confidence in hospital food by setting out clear ambitions for delivering high-quality food to patients and the public. The programme ran until 2006.

Other famous chefs have been down this road before.

He spent 12 weeks working with catering staff from Scarborough General and his efforts were featured in a BBC programme.

Heston Blumenthal also worked on a project to improve hospital meals in collaboration with the University of Reading and the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2010.

Mr Johnson said: "The NHS does an incredible job, and they produce about 140 million meals a year".

"Our dedicated staff deserve the same choice of quality, healthy, and sustaining meals to see them through a busy shift".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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