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East Lancashire patients 'not heard' on hospital food
NHS hospitals have been accused of ‘hiding’ the truth about the standards of their food and awarding themselves high-quality ratings, despite the views of patients.
Figures for East Lancashire obtained from the Campaign for Better Hospital Food show that for every 10 people asked, only 5.2 rated the food as ‘good’ while a survey by the Quality Care Commission showed that only 1.1 out of 10 East Lancashire patients said that they felt their views had been taken into account over meals.
However when NHS staff across the country carried out their own annual assessments of the quality of hospital food and in 2011 they rated nearly 98 per cent of meals as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Nationally the Care Quality Commission survey that showed half of patients are dissatisfied with hospital food.
The discovery has led to renewed calls for the government to introduce mandatory hospital food standards similar to those that already exist for prisons.
Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “I would totally back the calls for mandatory food standards in hospitals.
“It just seems weird and wrong that prison food would be subject to government standards and yet hospital food isn’t.
“I mean, we’re dealing with ill people, for goodness sake.
“I would also like to see more independent surveys in hospitals.
“If the hospitals are allowed to rate themselves then obviously, the results are always going to be good.
“I would urge anyone who has concerns to raise them with hospital staff during their stay.”
Alex Jackson, co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “It is time for the Government to come clean about the sorry state of hospital food in England and set mandatory standards for patient meals.
“This would only involve extending an existing policy which has seen it set mandatory standards for prison food... Surely patients recovering in hospital have the same right to good food as government Ministers, school kids and prisoners?”
Ewen Dyda, catering manager at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals, said: “The trust’s catering service strives to provide nutritious value for money meals for all our patients.
“Internal and external surveys suggest that we do meet patient expectations most of the time. If a patient is dissatisfied with the quality and or quantity of the meal served, we try to offer an alternative.”
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