NHS' £320m on supplements

Hospitals spend more money on nutritional supplements than food, according to campaigners who say the NHS in England spent £320 million on supplements for hospital patients in 2012, compared to £270 million on food ingredients.

Hospital food 'must be improved'

Lady Cumberlege, who is introducing a new Hospital Food Bill, said it is "clear to patients and their families" that hospital food needs to be improved as campaigners revealed the NHS spends more on nutritional supplements than food ingredients.

It is especially clear to patients and their families that something needs to be done to improve hospital food.

One simple way to do this is to require all patient meals to meet minimum standards of quality, like those that exist for school food and prison food.

– Lady Cumberlege

Hospitals 'spend more on supplements than food'

The NHS in England spent £320 million on nutritional supplements for hospital patients last year - compared to £270 million on food, the Campaign for Better Hospital Food found.

Hospitals spend more money on nutritional supplements than food, campaigners have said.
Hospitals spend more money on nutritional supplements than food, campaigners have said. Credit: PA

The figures were released ahead of a new Hospital Food Bill being introduced to the House of Lords that will call for mandatory quality standards for all patient meals.

In response, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter explained nutritional supplements are "essential" to many patients in order to survive.

He added: "The majority of this spend is for people in the community, so it is completely wrong to say it is about hospital food quality.

"We agree, however, that there is still too much variation in food standards across the NHS and we are working with Age UK and others on our continued work to support better hospital food."

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