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Bad hospital food being 'covered up' in Bromley, Dartford, Greenwich and Bexley
HEALTH trusts like those running hospitals in Bromley, Dartford, Greenwich and Bexley are covering up how bad their food is, according to a campaign group.
The Campaign for Better Hospital Food says that in the latest yearly inspections of hospitals carried out by their staff, just two of the 156 trusts in England rated their food below good or excellent.
But a Care Quality Commission survey of patients carried out between September 2012 and January 2013, found only 55 per cent of respondents thought the food they were served was good.
South London Healthcare Trust came third bottom of the survey nationally with just 42 per cent of patients rating the food as good – while hospital staff rated all its meals as good or acceptable.
Only Heatherwood/Wexham Park Hospitals with 38 per cent and Medway NHS Foundation Trust with 40 per cent, fared worse in England and Wales.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.
Before it is dissolved in October, financially troubled SLHT will continue to run Queen Elizabeth’s in Woolwich, Queen Mary’s in Sidcup and Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough.
A trust spokesman said: "A new revised food inspection process which is led by patients and not staff has recently given all of the trust's hospitals a good food rating.
“However, we have always acknowledged that the wider patient survey indicates that food needs to be improved and we have worked hard with patient representatives to tackle this issue.
"There has been a review of the content of the menus on each hospital site and a range of changes have been implemented over the year to standardise and improve the quality of food for patients.
“New menus were introduced at the Princess Royal hospital last year and our catering teams have introduced a new hand held electronic system to collect menus which has ensured a more timely ordering of food to meet patient choice.”
SLHT is seeking to improve the food at Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley.
At £6.83 the trust did spend less on its meals than the national average of £8.60 per patient per day.
This compares to £12.64 spent by Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust which is joint 14th highest in England and Wales and way above the national average.
A spokesman for the trust, which runs Darent Valley Hospital, stressed the figure includes every single cost of getting a meal to a patient’s plate through contractors Carillion Services – including transport, heating and staff costs – while the food itself actually costs £4.93 per person per day.
The trust came seventh from bottom of the CQC survey with just 45 per cent of patients rating the food as good – while the hospital itself rated all its meals as good or excellent.
A spokesman said: “We are committed to improving the services that we provide to patients. Good food is an important part of any patient’s recovery.
“The results of the food section of the CQC’s survey do vary from our own anonymous internal findings and we will be looking closely at what needs to be done to improve patient satisfaction.
Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup.
“The dieticians and catering staff work closely together to provide meals that include a range of choices for all patients and for those requiring special diets.”
Campaign for Better Hospital Food co-ordinator Alex Jackson, added: “It is time for the Government to come clean about the sorry state of hospital food in England and set mandatory standards for patient meals.
“This would only involve extending an existing policy which has seen it set mandatory standards for prison food and food served in government departments, to go alongside those that already exist for school food.
“Surely patients recovering in hospital have the same right to good food as government ministers, school kids and prisoners?”
What are your thoughts on the food at any of these hospitals? Share your horror stories, or tales of gourmet feasts, below, or send your snaps of hosptial grub to firstname.lastname@example.org
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