Hospital scores well on food spending and waste

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WEST Suffolk Hospital spends more than most NHS trusts on feeding its patients and wastes less food than most, according to new figures.

The hospital, in Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds, spends the equivalent of £8.97 per patient per day on food, compared to the national average of £7.93, and wastes 6.4 per cent of its food per year, compared with the national average of 7.57 per cent.

The data, from an Estates Return Information Collection report, analysed by Ssentif, compares the food spending and waste of 200 NHS hospital and mental health trusts in England for the year to March 2010.

The amount spent on food ranges from £2.93 to £19 per patient per day and the amount wasted ranges from 0.26 per cent to 29 per cent per year, with Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust the worst offender for waste.

Gwen Nuttall, chief operating officer at West Suffolk 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 team work hard to prepare all of our food on site while offering a choice of meals which also meet patients’ special dietary requirements.

“We have received some positive feedback from our patients regarding meals at West Suffolk, while the food we serve was also rated as excellent following a recent Patient Environment Action Team (Peat) inspection. We will continue to build on this good track record in the future, while also looking for ways in which we can improve still further.”

Judy Aldred, managing director of SSentif said: “Despite spending millions of pounds on catering every year, the NHS has been subjected to criticism about poor quality food and patient malnutrition. Trusts have responsibility for their own catering budgets and, with no minimum standard set by Government, the result seems to be huge discrepancies between organisations.

“The purpose of this study was not to name and shame individual trusts, but to demonstrate the savings that could be made through effective benchmarking.”