Hospital food waste on the agenda at health trust meeting

The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

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Health chiefs discussed hospital food during a meeting of a trust board.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust discussed the issue after the Mail reported how a study revealed almost 90,000 meals a year are thrown away at hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton.

Pressure group the Campaign for Better Hospital Food says its research shows at least in one every six meals served to the trust’s patients goes uneaten.

The trust served 660,496 meals over a 12-month period but 88,740 were not eaten.

During a meeting of the board, trust chairman Paul Garvin said: “I think sometimes with surveys people only fill information in when they have got an issue so therefore if their issue is food you have some people who like it particularly hot, some like it moderately cooked and others who like it, in my view, overcooked.

“It is quite a challenge for the catering staff.

“Every time I have spoken to patients they’re quite happy with the food. It’s a little frustrating.”

Hospital User Group representative Marjorie Leckonby told the Trust board that food was something the group always asked patients about when they visited wards and their feedback was largely positive.

The campaign group found the percentage of food waste stood at 16%, including food which has been served and food which has been wasted during preparation.

The group had analysed data from the Home and Communities Agency and acute NHS trusts nationwide which it says show more than 30million NHS patient meals are thrown away each year.

A poll on the Mail’s website found that 62% of people said they did not think hospital food is of a good standard.

Trust bosses said they are always working hard to continuously reduce food waste and added: “We pride ourselves on the highest standards of catering.

“Our catering team works closely with our dietitians to make sure patients receive nutritious food that help with their recovery.”