HC Deb 29 January 2003 vol 398 c890W
Ms Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the nutritional standards of hospital food for(a) adults, (b) children and (c) vulnerable elderly people. [83346]

Ms Blears

The Better Hospital Food programme has been designed to improve both the quality and availability of food for all patients through, amongst other things, the introduction of a 24–hour catering service and the provision of additional daily snacks.

Hospitals should have available to them expert dietetic advice, which should be called upon when designing hospital menus to ensure they meet the need of all patients. Additionally the essence of care, issued by the Chief Nursing Officer in 2001, highlights the importance of nutritional screening to identify patients who are at risk.

The National Health Service recipe book, issued in May 2001, sets out the minimum standards to be provided by hospitals and also provides additional guidance on meeting the nutritional needs of children, elderly and long stay patients as well as those requiring food with modified consistency. There is additionally guidance on common therapeutic diets.

A guidance document on providing catering services to children and young adults is due to be issued to the NHS shortly.