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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:
– Jeremy Hunt
We are making the NHS more transparent, giving patients the power to compare food on wards and incentivising hospitals to raise their game.
Many hospitals are already offering excellent food to their patients and staff. But we want to know that all patients have nourishing and appetising food to help them get well faster and stay healthy, which is why we're introducing tough new mandatory standards for the first time ever.
Viewers have expressed mixed reactions over the state of food in the nation's NHS hospitals - ranging from outrage to disbelief of criticism over Britain's healthcare system.
– Viewer Michelle Cagnasso
Yes we pay taxes...it's food...don't like it don't eat it! There are thousands of people all over the world who are suffering without food for days and people still moan! It's not a 5 star restaurant!
– Viewer Rachael Parnham
I used to serve food up on the wards. Food looks fine, yet as soon as it's put in the heating trolley it goes all sloppy. Also the lack of help with giving out the food to patients mean that on big wards even the heating trolley doesn't keep food warm for all the patients.
– Viewer Sarah Owen
While in hospital once, I stated I was vegetarian. For lunch I received a beef salad. I explained to the staff member handing out meals that I was vegetarian and asked if I could possibly have something without meat, and after being tutted and sighed at, was presented with a chicken salad and told to 'pick the salad from around the meat'.
It is claimed by www.hospitalfood.org.uk that these photos are examples of the types of meals being served in the country's hospitals. ITV News Tyne Tees is not able to independently verify them.
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New NHS rules will banish unacceptable food in hospitals - meaning sloppy mashed potato and soggy vegetables may become a thing of the past.
For the first time hospitals will have to meet mandatory food standards as part of a long-mooted drive to raise its standards of food across the country, the Department of Health (DoH) said.
They will also be ranked according to the quality of their food and will be required to meet legally-binding standards.
Patients will be screened for malnutrition and given personal food plans, while hospital staff will have to ensure patients get the help they need so that they can physically eat and drink.
Healthy diets will be promoted to staff and visitors in hospital canteens, and what they serve will have to meet Government recommendations on salt, sugar and saturated fats.
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".
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has said he is convinced Jack Colback's move from Sunderland to Newcastle was a key factor in his first England call-up.
The 24-year-old midfielder was a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson's squad for next month's friendly against Norway and the Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland just weeks after leaving Sunderland, where he had been since the age of 10.
Pardew believes the way Colback has negotiated his controversial switch from Wearside to Tyneside will not have gone unnoticed at Soho Square.
The 53-year-old said: "It's great for north-east football, because he did a lot of this [to earn his] call-up at Sunderland."
Newcastle City Council has banned 'to let' boards across the student areas of Jesmond, Heaton and Gosforth.
The ban is after years of complaints from residents who say it lowers the quality of the area and claim the signs affect house prices.
From January, any landlord or letting agent displaying boards without permission could face fines of up to £2,500.
Sarah Shearman, a renowned horse whisperer who runs a riding school in North Yorkshire is helping Japanese students to better their communication skills through working with animals.
The riding centre is run by mother and daughter, Sandra Kreutzer-Brett and Sarah Shearman, who are experts in reading the body language of horses and their riders.
Sarah says working with the animals can help build their confidence and self-esteem.