Labour pledges new legal standards for hospital food

Today (12 April 2018) the Labour Party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, will announce a new commitment that a future Labour government would place hospital food standards on the same legal basis as school food standards.

The pledge from the Labour Party would ensure hospitals have to meet minimum quality standards for the food served to patients, staff and visitors, as well as undergoing independent monitoring and enforcement.

This follows new figures showing that some Hospitals are spending as little as £3 a day on food for patients, despite rising numbers of cases of malnutrition.

  • There has been a 122% increase in the overall number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition as primary or secondary diagnosis since 2010
  • There has been a 20% increase in the number of pregnant women admitted to hospital with primary or secondary cases of Vitamin D deficiency over the past year
  • Hospital admissions where obesity is a factor have more than doubled in England during the last four years

Rob Percival, Food for Life Policy & Campaigns Manager said:

“Labour’s commitment to placing hospital food standards on the same legal basis as school food standards is welcome, but it must be matched with a robust mechanism by which NHS Trusts can demonstrate compliance. The Public Services Social Value Act has been a statutory duty on hospitals for many years, but it is widely overlooked in procurement because of the absence of such a mechanism. There is also more to improving hospital food than strengthening the regulatory baseline. Few NHS Trusts have developed a comprehensive food and drink strategy and few are pursuing a ‘whole hospital approach’ to good food, even though these were recommendations of the Department of Health’s Hospital Food Standards Panel and have been mandated through the NHS Standard Contract. Political parties must work to incentivise genuine a race-to-the-top that makes every hospital an exemplar of healthy and sustainable food for staff, patients and visitors.”

Food for Life offers a series of packages for NHS trusts which support the delivery of key national policy initiatives including the mandatory ‘Healthy food for NHS staff, visitor and patients’ CQUIN and the development of a food and drink strategy. Click here to find out more.