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New report sets new food standards for NHS hospitals

A new report from the Food Standards Panel detailing how NHS hospitals should develop and maintain a food and drink strategy has recently been released.

The Panel has recommended that work should continue with the likes of NHS England and Defra so that the importance of hospital food is recognised, while required standards should be monitored via annual Patient-led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE).

The report details the five food standards that should be required for all hospitals.

For patient catering:

  • 10 key characteristics of good nutritional care, Nutrition Alliance
  • Nutrition and Hydration Digest, The British Dietetic Association
  • Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool or equivalent1 (BAPEN)

For staff and visitor catering (and applied as appropriate to patient catering):

  • Healthier and More Sustainable Catering – Nutrition Principles (Public Health England)

For all catering:

  • Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services, HMG standards developed by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The recommended standards meet the requirements of patients who are at risk of malnutrition and need additional calories within a small portion size.

While the report looks at the quality of food required, the value of creating a healthier workforce and a more efficient use of money, it also stresses the importance of nutritious and wholesome food to help fight mediocre care.