'Tasteless': Patients share pictures and views of hospital food

Hospital food Image copyright Getty Images

What do you think about hospital food?

Bake Off judge Prue Leith is the latest celebrity chef to be recruited in the quest to improve the food hospital patients eat.

The government has launched a review of hospital food, first announced in June, to set new quality standards for the 140 million meals served annually.

Readers have been sending their experiences - both good and bad - to the BBC, while others have shared theirs on social media.


Image copyright Martin Wilks
Image caption A lamb and vegetable stew at a Liverpool hospital

Martin Wilks, 58, from Crosby, says the quality of food at a hospital in Liverpool, where he has received treatment for four years, has "definitely deteriorated".

"The food is cheaply produced and tasteless," he says, referencing a lamb and vegetable stew he was served in July.

"I was forced to go and buy sandwiches from the hospital shop and relied on visitors bringing food in to get enough to eat and have a balanced diet."

Image copyright Jane Harvey
Image caption A pineapple cake served in Wales

Jane Harvey, 44, from Newport, says food during her stay in her local hospital reminded her of "1980s school dinners".

"Looks like a nice chocolate number doesn't it? Wrong! It's a pineapple cake - so hard you could have bounced it off the walls!" she says.

Image copyright Supplied
Image caption "An appetising ham recipe"

Another reader, who asked not to be named, says he wrote to the hospital CEO when staff served him ham and a tomato during a stay two years ago, and was assured that employees eat the same food in the canteen.

"I suspect few chose such an appetising ham recipe," he says.

Image copyright Terri Donnelly
Image caption Southern fried chicken with chips and green beans

Terri Donnelly, 28, from Chesterfield, says that a meal she was served at a local hospital in July had "more breadcrumbs than chicken".

"I also had fish fingers at one point and they were grey and hard inside," she says, adding that she moved to a hospital in Sheffield where the food was of a higher quality.

'Long overdue'

People also took to social media to share their experiences of meals.

Some welcomed the government review.


Yet others tweeted in defence of hospital food.

Kevin Pascoe, 62, from Bridgend, often visits his brother, who needs easily chewable food because of digestive problems.

"The food he has doesn't always look the most appetising because of his dietary needs, but I know it smells absolutely lovely when I feed him at visiting times and he says it tastes beautiful," he says.

"He eats really well in hospital and far better than his care home."

A member of the catering team at a hospital in Enniskillen says that everything is served to patients fresh.

"Our food is cooked on site and [put in] heated trolleys and brought to the wards, where it served straight away," he says, adding that the best meals are roast dinners on Sundays.

'Nothing but praise'

Meanwhile, Paul Robinson, who stayed in a Blackpool hospital, told the BBC: "I have nothing but praise for the catering team there, they provide excellent meals throughout the day for over 800 beds".

And Michael Gannon, 68, from London, says he had "excellent" freshly-prepared food during a recent stay in hospital - but has had worse experiences elsewhere.

"I fail to understand why there is such a variance in hospital food. It should be seen as a key factor in helping all patients to recover from their treatment but some trusts are failing badly," he says.

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