Hospital food cuts "disaster"

Hospital bosses in Britain have slashed the amount they spend on food for patients, the  British paper the Daily Mail reports.  The most miserly hospitals pay 3 British pounds a day --  a paltry 1 pound per meal (less than $1.60 Canadian).

The average British prison meal costs  2.10 pounds.

Figures obtained by the Mirror reveal food budgets at hospitals in England in 2009-10 had been cut by as much as 62% compared with five years previously.  A total of 36 out of 191 hospitals analysed cut spending on food in the five-year period. Twenty hospitals spend less than 5 pounds a day feeding each patient.

The spending cuts come despite the cost of ingredients soaring by a third and claims from bosses that their food is improving.

Roger Goss, co-director of Patient Concern, said the problem would only get worse as hospital budgets are savaged by the Conservative government. "Hospital food is a disaster. Each hospital is allowed to decide how much it spends but the Department of Health should set a minimum amount and ringfence the budget"

Similarly, many Ontario hospitals (facing a budget squeeze) no longer cook food locally, preferring instead to reheat processed foods manufactured in distant, for-profit food factories.  

Spending on hospital support services has been cut for decades, with unsurprising results for food quality, housekeeping, and infection control.  


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