To mark the 70th birthday of the NHS, the i newspaper has written a piece on how hospital food has changed over the years. See Sustain's comment.
Dr Jennifer Crane, a research fellow at the University of Warwick’s Centre for the History of Medicine, has been studying food in the NHS for the past three years with the help of funding from the Wellcome Trust. She has unearthed references to tasty morsels like the 'spleen diet' which involved “serving pulp scraped from the fibrous part of the spleen, tossed in oatmeal and fried”. Patients were also served “fish custard”, a thick sauce of haddock, milk and egg.
The spleen diet involved “serving pulp scraped from the fibrous part of the spleen, tossed in oatmeal and fried”. Patients were also served “fish custard”, a thick sauce of haddock, milk and egg.
Sustain's Campaign for Better Hospital Food has been cataloguing people’s concerns about hospital food for more than a decade.
Kath Dalmeny, the chief executive of Sustain, says a few hospitals are now serving food of “exceptional” quality, but that patients still face a postcode lottery. “There are still some stories, even now, of people having a tray left at the end of their bed and they’re blind or disabled and can’t reach it – and then they don’t eat it, funnily enough,” she says. Kath also made the point that poor quality food can also take its toll on NHS staff who survive on pizza and chocolate bars due to a lack of provision.
Some NHS hospitals have dramatically better food than others and practices also vary widely with some hospitals protecting meal times so they cannot be interrupted by routine treatments – whereas in others patients can be forced to skip meals. “You wouldn’t miss a meal in a good hospital,” Ms Dalmeny says. “But some hospitals say ‘You have to wait another five hours’, so [patients] are left miserable or relying on a vending machine.”
You can read the full story in the i here
Sustain: Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.
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