Delays in improving hospital food blamed on lack of leadership

A report conducted by the Welsh National Assembly Committee has warned that a lack of leadership has led to delays in implementing measures to improve patients nutrition in hospitals.

The report highlighted a 2015 survey which found a third of patients had a received a meal in hospital which they regarded as unappetising.

The news comes after a previous report by the auditor general for Wales called for a computerised catering information system and standardised nursing documentation to ensure measures on screening patients for nutritional problems were followed.

However, the PAC report criticised that there had been no progress on creating a computerised catering information system, and said it was ‘intolerable’ that it would take another three years for the nursing documentation to be completed.

Nick Ramsay, the committee's chairman, outlined: “Hospital catering and patient nutrition is a key element in ensuring that people make a full and healthy recovery while in hospital. Although there are some positive results, key elements of the original report from 2011 have still not been implemented.

"It is entirely unacceptable that almost a decade will have passed before these matters are resolved and patients receive efficient and effective meal services that provide the basics of appetising and nutritious food and water to remain hydrated."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We have already introduced a range of initiatives aimed at patients, staff and visitors in relation to healthy eating - including mandatory food and fluid nutrition standards for patients, mandatory healthy food and drink vending standards and guidance for food and drink served to visitors and staff.

"We are currently considering ways to improve healthy food provision in hospitals even further, including an upcoming review of the mandatory standards."

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