Prue Leith has found it is possible for the NHS to serve ‘delicious’ food on a budget to hospital patients and staff.
The Great British Bake Off star led a review into meals provided by hospitals and has set out ways NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious food.
It comes after reports that Prue had quit the Conservative Party following the government’s rejection of an amendment to protect the UK’s food standards.
Leith has now said: ‘The review provides best-in-class examples of how hospitals can serve delicious, nutritious and nicely presented meals on a budget.
‘Food is not only important to health, but to morale. Hospital mealtimes should be a moment of enjoyment and a pleasure to serve. They should inspire staff, patients and visitors to eat well at home.’
Recommendations include digital menus, upgraded kitchens providing a 24/7 service and can cater for a wide range of needs, such as new mothers in maternity wards, to patients who are hungry after a long fast due to surgery, and even staff working overnight.
The review noted that digital menus could improve communication between dietitians and caterers, reduce food waste and provide patients with the right food for recovery.
A 2018 staff survey showed that 58% of patients rated hospital food as very good or good, and 39% of hospital staff felt food and catering facilities offered in their workplaces were poor, the department of health said.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock praised Prue for leading the review and said: ‘This impressive report shows the way to good hospital food for all – patients, staff and visitors.
‘Across the NHS and in the 40 new hospitals we are set to build I want to ensure – with Prue’s help – that we deliver really good hospital food.
‘Alongside our new obesity strategy to improve the nation’s diet, the NHS is leading by example when it comes to public health.’
Hancock added on Twitter: ‘When you go into hospital, the food should be part of what helps make you better.’
The Government has said it will now establish an expert group of NHS caterers, dietitians and nurses to decide on next steps.
Prue, 80, was hailed a hero for her efforts with one Twitter user tweeting: ‘I’ve kept this as evidence when someone ever asks me what hospital food is like. I remember the choices with this were rice or something like tofu. IMHO this review can’t come soon enough.’
Another agreed: ‘@PrueLeith thank you for your NHS meals review, having just spent 3 weeks in hospital on a limited diet I can testify that good food at the right time to suit patients is very difficult. I know you’ve got lots of people to help, but if you need any IT input I’m volunteering!’ one said.’
However, others heavily criticised the government for being keen to overhaul hospital food just days after rejecting Marcus Rashford’s plea to extend free school meals for disadvantaged children over the holidays.
‘I would rather you invested in eradicating food poverty for children during this pandemic. eating crap food in hospital isn’t good enough but come on your not going to get overweight or malnutrition from a two night stay in hospital [sic],’ one argued.
Another said: ‘So all the kids need to do for a good meal is get rickets at home, then get admitted to a hospital, right? Hmmm.’
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Credit: Original article published here.