Recipe for neglect

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IT goes without saying that hospital managers have an enviable task meeting the raised expectations of patients and their relatives, but this does not excuse – or forgive – the penny-pinching which is taking place over the meals, if that is what they can be called, served on many wards.

When it is clinically proven that nourishing meals are an effective way of aiding a patient’s recovery, thereby reducing the pressure on hospital beds, it is deplorable that the quality of meals varies so greatly.

For, even in these financially challenging times, it is soul-destroying that some hospitals think they can spend as little as £2.57 a day on each patient’s daily food intake. No wonder many individuals have to rely upon food parcels from relatives or simply choose to go hungry.

This meanness is, of course, in contrast to those enlightened hospitals that insist on serving three quality meals a day, often sourced from local produce. They have shown that it can be done – and it is now up to Ministers to cook up a storm and ensure that these standards are met at each and every hospital. It is the very least that NHS patients should expect.