Union says government should take action to improve patient food
The comments come after a report by Sustain – Twenty years of hospital food failure: why we need mandatory standards, not more ineffective voluntary initiatives – shows the government has wasted more than £50m on failed attempts to improve patient meals since 1992.
UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: “Healthy, appetising food is vital to a speedy recovery and long-lasting health. When patients are poorly, it can be difficult to stimulate their appetites. Serving quality food helps physiologically and aids recovery.
“Hospitals should move away from Cook Chill food production, and towards cooking food on site, using locally-sourced food. This would help to reinvigorate local economies, as well as benefit the environment.
“Outsourcing of catering services has had a detrimental impact on the quality of food served in hospitals, which is why so many people rely on vending machines and fast food outlets in hospital foyers.
“Hospital catering staff are working hard to produce quality food against the backdrop of budget cuts and privatisation. They also need enough time to ensure that patients are not only getting the right food, but have the help and time they need to be able to eat it.”
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