Taking the pulse of London hospital food

Picture: Statistics from Taking the Pulse of Hospital Food

Published: 18/04/2018

Hospitals have a poor reputation when it comes to food, but what sort of meals are really being served up? Katherine Button writes about how the Campaign for Better Hospital Food’s new report is lifting the lid on the state of patients’ plates.

Good, wholesome food is an essential part of recovery for hospital patients. It’s also vital for the 1.4 million NHS staff, of whom around half - more than 700,000 - are overweight or obese.  So it might have seemed common sense to have used the £548m of taxpayers’ money the NHS spent on patient food last year to support healthy lives, local food, higher welfare farming and fishing industries. 

However, our March 2017 report, Taking the Pulse of Hospital Food, shows that this is not always happening. Looking at 30 of 39 acute London hospitals, we found that half are not even meeting basic government hospital food standards, and many are struggling to cook good, fresh food for their patients and staff. 

To make sure hospitals prioritise their catering and food retail, the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, supported by renowned food educator (and new Bake Off judge…) Prue Leith, now calls for robust standards on the same legal basis as those set down a decade ago for schools.

What can you do?

  • Download the report to find out the sort of food your local hospital is serving
  • Contact your local MP and ask them to support the Campaign for Better Hospital Food’s call for hospital food standards to be set down on the same legal basis as for schools. 

This feature first appeared in The Jellied Eel magazine issue 54, June 2017