On the menu

Written by on 24 November 2014

Hospital food is to get a makeover, after the Scottish Government announced it is to spend a further £300,000 to help health boards improve nutritional care in hospitals. 

I had a regular (bedside) table chez NHS Scotland during a week-long residential I had when I was having my son last year. Like many new mums, I recall the post-birth tea and toast with grateful affection, and can also credit my stay for reawakening a dormant fondness for Rice Crispies and ice-cold milk. But apart from that, the menu was probably best forgotten. 

In its announcement, the Scottish Government also said it will consult on whether nutritional standards in hospitals should be underpinned by legislation, which if agreed would make Scotland the first in the UK to do so.

The announcement was largely welcomed.

Scottish Green health spokesperson, Alison Johnstone MSP said it was good to see the Scottish Government “waking up” to the important issue of hospital meals and urged ministers to “raise their ambitions for the quality of food serviced in our hospitals.” 

Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure the food they serve to patients is “healthy and palatable,” Dr Lewis Morrison, member of the BMA’s Scottish Council, added.

“A significant number of patients admitted to hospitals in Scotland are undernourished, many of whom are aged over 65. This can contribute to prolonged ill health, clinical complications, delayed recovery and therefore longer hospital stays, so it is important they while they’re in hospital, we help to provide the nutrition these patients need to help in their recovery,” he said.

Health Secretary Alex Neil also gave himself a pat on the back, insisting that Scotland has “led the way in the UK” in developing and monitoring standards for nutritional care and catering in hospitals. But he acknowledged that there is more to be done.

“This is part of a package of measures that will help to ensure that hospital food continues to improve, that NHS boards have the appropriate amount of support and advice that they need to deliver these improvements and that we have an even stronger inspection process,” he said.  

Since last time... discovered the packers really did dutifully wrap and box up everything from our old home, including the recycling and a jar of mint sauce that went out of date in May 2010.

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