It's a bold new move to try to improve the standard of food in our hospitals. As part of a national campaign to raise the quality of meals they will have to meet set requirements to provide healthy and nutritious meals for patients. Latest statistics show a wide variation here in the South East. Andrea Thomas reports now from the Kent and Canterbury Hospital which was rated highly. She spoke to patients, hospital matron Wendy-Ling Relph and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Hospitals across the region will now have to meet mandatory food standard requirements for the first time. The NHS will be ranked on food quality as part of a national campaign to raise standards of hospital food across the country. Hospitals will also be asked to encourage healthy eating, high-quality food and excellent nutritional care. ITV Meridian spoke to Andy Jones from the Hospital Caterers Association.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says new guidelines are designed to ensure high food standards are upheld in hospitals across the NHS.
He said that while the "majority" of NHS patients felt the food was "good or very good", healthier, more nutritious foods would help people recover more quickly when in care.
Sweeping changes to the standards of hospital food "are about good nutrition" to ensure patients have the best chance at a full recovery, a charity has told Good Morning Britain.
Ruth Isden said patients did not expect hospitals to be "five star restaurants" and good quality food "was a really important of their care".
Rankings of hospital care according to the quality of the food they serve will help improve the transparency of the NHS, the Health Secretary has said.
Speaking as the Department of Health launched a crackdown on hospital food, Jeremy Hunt said:
The independent Care Quality Commission found standards in many hospitals are falling short of what is expected and are now calling for mandatory standards to be introduced, just like schools and prisons. Richard Jones reports.
Half of all hospital patients are dissatisfied with the food they're served. And today the Care Quality Commission has released a survey showing that in many cases - tighter budgets mean - standards are getting worse.
Now there are calls for mandatory standards to be introduced after food in Medway Maritime Hospital was judged to be some of the worst in the country. Our reporter Nashreen Issa talks to chief nurse Steve Hams and Alex Jackson from the Campaign for better hospital food.
Salisbury- Quality 5.7/10, Choice 8.6/10
Southend- Quality 5.6/10, Choice 9.2/10
Surrey & Sussex- Quality 5.0/10, Choice 8.6/10
Bournemouth & Christchurch- Quality 5.7/10, Choice 8.2/10
Southampton- Quality 4.8/10, Choice 8.7/10
Western Sussex- Quality, 5.5/10, Choice 8.5/10
Basildon & Thurrock - Quality 5.0/10, Choice 9.0/10
Brighton & Sussex - Quality 5.6/10, Choice 9.0/10
Buckinghamshire- Quality 5.1/10, Choice 9.1/10
Dartford & Gravesham- Quality 4.5/10, Choice 7.8/10
Dorset County - Quality 6.3/10, Choice 9.3/10
East Kent - Quality 5.1/10, Choice 8.5/10
East Sussex - Quality 5.3/10, Choice 8.5/10
Frimley Park - Quality- 6.0/10, Choice 8.7/10
Basingstoke & North Hampshire- Quality 5.8/10, Choice 8.9/10
Heatherwood & Wexham Park- Quality 3.8/10, Choice 8.9/10
Isle of Wight- Quality 5.5/10, Choice 8.4/10
Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells- Quality 5.2/10, Choice 8.4/10
Medway- Quality 4.0/10, Choice 8.1/10
Oxford- Quality 5.2/10, Choice 8.9/10
Poole- Quality 6.1/10, Choice 9.1/10
Portsmouth- Quality 5.3/10, Choice 8.8/10
Royal Berkshire- Quality 6.1/10, Choice 8.9/10
Royal Surrey- Quality 5.1/10, Choice 8.2/10
Complaints and jokes about hospital food are as old as the NHS.Too often it's too cold, or too late, or too little - or all three of those things.
But you'll struggle to find a complaining patient in the hospitals of east Kent. They've introduced a radical new catering system that's transformed lunchtimes.
Patients have a choice of 24 dishes. And they arrive hot and and on time. John Ryall speaks to nutrition expert John Edwards, Helen O'Keefe from the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and dietician Vicky Pout.