Saturday, August 30, 2014

UK Health Radio Medical News Update – On the Hour - New hospital food rules introduced

UK Health Radio Medical News Update – On the Hour

New hospital food rules introduced

The BBC has reported that hospitals in England will be expected to provide a higher standard of food under new measures that are being announced by the health secretary.
The new standards will be enforced through legally binding NHS contracts and will focus on quality, choice and promoting a healthy diet for patients and staff.
Hospitals will also be ranked on the meals they prepare.
The Campaign for Better Hospital Food said the changes were "woefully inadequate" and would also be hard to enforce. NHS hospitals in Scotland and Wales already have nutritional standards in place.
Under the changes, hospitals will be ranked according to quality and choice of food, whether the menu is approved by a dietician, the availability of fresh fruit and food between meals, the variety of options at breakfast - which should include warm food, and the cost of the food provided.
The rankings will then be published on the NHS Choices website.
The new standards will require hospitals to provide:
  • Fish twice a week
  • Seasonal produce
  • Tap water
  • Cooked rice, potatoes and vegetables without salt
  • Half of all desserts should be fruit
Patients will be assessed for malnutrition when they are admitted and there will also be a greater responsibility placed on staff to ensure patients are well fed.
The chairman of charity Age UK, Dianne Jeffrey, has been working with the Department of Health to produce the new NHS standards for England.
She acknowledged, "hospitals are not five-star restaurants," but said meals were an important part of a patient's recovery.
Ms Jeffrey said there had been reports of patients being unable to feed themselves or even reach a glass of water.
She told the BBC: "When a person is in hospital they are in a very vulnerable state.
"It's very important that the food is attractive, it's appetising, it's palatable, it's nutritious, that it meets the cultural and social needs of patients and also meets their clinical needs."

Amanda Thomas
UK Health Radio Medical News Update – On the Hour
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