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.