Government launches hospital food review

Prue Leith

Prue Leith

Restaurateur and celebrity chef Prue Leith CBE will act as an adviser to the review, drawing on her experience working in catering, high-quality restaurants and as a former chair of the School Food Trust.

Derbyshire man Ian Hitchcock died after falling victim to a listeria outbreak linked to the pre-packaged food in June this year.

Writing in the Journal Of The Royal Society Of Medicine he warned that almost a decade of austerity and "massive cuts" to local authority budgets had meant environmental health departments were not able to "keep ahead of the threats to human health".

The review will explore whether hospitals can use less frozen food and source local fresh produce where possible, as well as lookingat how to increase the number of hospitals with their own kitchens andtheir own chefs.

Alongside this, new national standards for healthcare food for patients, staff and visitors will be developed by NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England (PHE).

Today she said: "Millions of pounds are wasted in hospitals with food ending up in the bin, unpalatable food being the main complaint".

Leith is not the first renowned chef to advise on food initiatives related to United Kingdom hospitals.

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".

Jan Ingle from East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust said; "We work really closely with all our partners to make sure our patients and staff have healthy meals".

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".

MasterChef presenter Loyd Grossman advised the Government on hospital food standards too and backed a campaign in 2013 which said that hospital meals should have compulsory nutritional standards. "I'm delighted we've assembled a first-rate group to drive this agenda".

He was recruited by the NHS in 2001 as part of the Better Hospital Food Initiative, aimed at improving menus for patients.

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.

Fears about the state of hospital food have peaked in recent weeks following a listeria outbreak in May which killed six patients.

The Great British Bake Off judge, 79, has been hired to help sort out hospital meals following the deaths of six patients who contracted listeria after eating NHS food.

The review will examine the quality of the estimated 140 million meals provided to patients each year, as well as staff meals.