While a National report has accused the Government of wasting more than £54m on failed schemes to improve hospital food – West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds appears to be bucking the trend.
A report by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, run by food and farming pressure group Sustain, said there had been 21 campaigns during the past two decades – many fronted by celebrities – all designed to improve nutrional standards.
But it claimed these had failed and that compulsory standards needed to be set.
West Suffolk Hospital has received an excellent rating for its food for the past two years in Patient Environmental Action Team (PEAT) inspections.
They looked at both the quality and quantity of food served to patients.
Veronica Hall, catering manager at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “It is important to provide our patients with high quality, balanced and appetising meals as good nutrition can have a really positive impact on recovery. “As such, our catering team work hard to prepare our food on site while offering a choice of meals which meet special dietary requirements.
“We buy our ingredients from a variety sources to ensure we are getting the best value for money.
“Where possible, we use local suppliers so that we can reduce transport costs without compromising on quality.
“We have received some really good feedback from patients about our food, which has also rated as ‘excellent’ for the past two years following Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) inspections.
“We will continue to build on this good track record in the future while also looking for ways to improve still further.”
The hospital produces all of its meals on site with the exception of specific ethnic meals such as Kosher or Halal which are bought in when required.
The hospital has to provide inpatients with around 350 breakfasts, 700 lunches/suppers and about 60 sandwiches or snacks, a day.
It also serves around 250 main meals including cottage pies, roasts, curries, panninis and jacket potatoes – to staff each day.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “We recognise the positive impact which good nutrition can have on the recovery process and the importance of providing our patients with high quality, balanced and appetising meals.
“As such, our catering department works closely with our dietitians.
“We have a range of initiatives in place to promote good nutrition across the
“We regularly weigh inpatients and carry out specific nutritional risk
assessments to identify anyone who may benefit from a special diet, for example with calorie-dense choices.
“We use colour-coded trays to show which patients may need extra help to eat and drink.
“We have trained some of our volunteers to help feed patients at mealtimes
and enforce ‘protected mealtimes’ on our wards so that patients can eat without interruption from clinical staff or visitors.
“We offer special menus for people with small appetites (some people can be put off if there is too much on their plate).
“We carry out ward rounds every two hours to visit every patient and check
they have enough to drink and report to the board every month on our performance around nutrition and hydration.
“We take part in a variety of national initiatives to help maintain focus on
the importance of good nutrition, including ‘Nutrition Now’.
“By cooking food on-site, we are able to offer a range of different menus, such as enriched menus for those who need additional nutrition.
“We also carry out malnutrition screening to identify patients who may benefit from extra nourishment through an enriched diet.”