Horrendous NHS food revealed – do meals from YOUR hospital feature?10/01/2023
Most disappointing NHS meals revealed: From a single jacket potato to a dry cheese sandwich with no butter – worst hospital foods are revealed
- READ MORE: NHS hospitals serving up the worst food are named and shamed
Rubbish food has long been synonymous with the NHS, but these horrendous dishes take it to another level.
From a plate of measly chicken sandwiches to a single jacket potato, one cold sausage smothered in BBQ sauce and a burnt chilli con carne, MailOnline can reveal some of the worst hospital food in Britain.
NHS patients have complained for decades about the dreary dinners served up in hospitals, and looking at these meals it’s no wonder why.
Earlier this year the dire state of hospital food was laid bare in a league table that ranked every trust.
Harrogate and District Foundation Trust (FT) scored lowest, with an approval rating of just 71.67 per cent.
Rubbish food has long been synonymous with the NHS, but these horrendous dishes take it to another level
A hospital in Hertfordshire delivered a dinner, advertised as pork and apple sauce to the patient. Dry rice was served alongside ‘questionable’ pork rolled into a slice. No apple sauce or vegetables were provided
One patient being treated at a hospital in Hertfordshire was served a dinner of four small meatballs in tomato sauce and five new potatoes. ‘The nursing staff say they’re embarrassed to serve this,’ they told MailOnline
During the same hospital stay, the patient was given a ‘questionable’ chicken hot pot that was ‘not hot’, they told MailOnline. ‘The food here is appalling’, they added
Mid Cheshire Hospitals FT (73.53) and York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals FT (73.85) rounded out the bottom three.
A spokesperson for Mid Cheshire Hospitals Foundation Trust told the Health Service Journal: ‘We are both sorry and disappointed that we did not meet our patients’ expectations at the time of the assessment.’
The trust said it had taken ‘immediate action’ to address shortcomings with food provision, including working more closely with its dieticians.
It is also exploring new menu options, it said.
They were also served a dinner of three small new potatoes with three meatballs in a tomato sauce. ‘They don’t provide mains and sides that match,’ the patient queried. ‘Who has meatballs with new potato?’
Another meal offered to the patient earlier this month by staff at the same hospital included ‘disgusting’ pulled pork with ‘dry rice’. The pork was ‘full of water’, they said. ‘Food is consistently returned. Patients opt for jacket potato as it’s the most decent thing they can cook,’ they told MailOnline. However, for those having to undergo longer hospital stays, the lack of choice ‘gets so boring’, they said. ‘Thankfully my mum brings me food but I feel for those who have no visitors or money’
The patient was also served a ‘cold chicken casserole’ at the hospital in Hertfordshire. It was delivered with ‘a flapjack apparently’ (above), they said
One 86-year-old patient was offered a dinner of mashed potato, tinned spaghetti hoops and a single vegetarian sausage sliced into chunks last weekend at a hospital in south Wales. It was served in a takeaway container. The photo was shared by his daughter
Kevin Nicholson, 47, from Prestwick, Scotland, was left stunned after his partner Hazel-Ann McDonald, 55, was given this dish of turkey, beans and half a tomato, with watery gravy poured over the top in Ayr Hospital, west Scotland
In November, NHS England launched its new national standards for hospital food, which are legally binding.
Among the eight standards, include a requirement for trusts to offer hot food 24/7 and letting patients choose their dinner from bed.
More vegetable and fish dishes must also be made available.
Later during the weekend, the gentleman was served a 12 chips for dinner by the hospital in south Wales. ‘He counted 12 chips and when asked for vegetables [he was told] there wasn’t any. Very difficult and sad when nutrition goes hand in hand with recovery,’ his daughter said. ‘To receive distressing calls from my very elderly dad that he is “starving and has no energy”, due to being given 12 chips and nothing else for dinner was truly awful,’ she added
At another hospital in Cambridgeshire, one patient was served a single jacket potato for dinner during their stay in September 2022. When cut open, the potato was found to be mouldy
The same patient was later served a burnt chilli con carne for dinner. ‘I’m sure that the food in prisons is better than some of the meals served there’, they told MailOnline
The hospital in Cambridgeshire also offered a plate of broccoli and cauliflower in a cheese sauce for dinner on another occasion. ‘I have had numerous stays in the past few years, the food in dreadful,’ the patient told MailOnline. ‘The amount of food on the menu that is regularly unavailable is ridiculous’
Another patient was served a rotten jacket potato while undergoing treatment for appendicitis at a hospital in North Yorkshire in December 2020. Sally Teston said the potato ‘was black inside’. Staff were unable to replace it ‘until everyone else had been served their and I had to wait for what was left’, she added. While Covid restrictions remained in place during her hospital stay, ‘I had to get my mum to bring meals up to the hospital doors and I would go out to meet her as I was not allowed visitors,’ she said
In June 2022, another hospital in south Wales served up this concoction, after one reader underwent major surgery. ‘It was described as a cheese and potato pie’, they said. ‘Completely unappetizing and frankly inedible but the only veggie item on the menu. At a time where nourishment was needed it was another day without food for me’
It came in the wake of the cook and Great British Bake Off judge, Dame Prue Leith’s blueprint for better hospital food, released in October 2020.
This called on the NHS to make healthier and better quality meals and let patients order food around the clock straight to their bed.
She also said all hospitals should have digital meal ordering by 2022, serve meals on china and ‘go green’ to slash the 14,000,000 kg of wasted meals thrown out by the NHS every year.
In another case, one expectant mother was offered potatoes and cheese, after being admitted to be induced at a hospital in the south west of England in October 2021. Her friend and birthing partner shared the photo, taken in the maternity ward and wrote: ‘Who wouldn’t want a dish of potato, potato and cheese whilst they are in the maternity ward’
Earlier this year in March, one patient who was treated at a hospital in Essex for three days, was served a single slice of ‘cold’ white toast with ‘frozen’ butter for breakfast
She was later served a dry cheese sandwich for lunch. ‘The only sandwich they had was a cheese sandwich’, she said. The single slice of cheese was served between white bread with no butter
The hospital later offered the patient a measly portion of mashed potato and a single sausage in BBQ sauce for dinner. Both the potato and sausage were ‘cold’, she told MailOnline
Earlier this year in March, Louise Avery was given a single slice of toast with butter for breakfast at another hospital in south Wales
Ms Avery was later served a dinner of mashed potato, beef and carrots with a Yorkshire pudding. The dish was finished with a thick gravy
The review was commissioned by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in August 2019, after six patients died from listeria which they contracted from hospital sandwiches and salads.
The NHS serves 140 million meals to patients every year, and has a further 1.2 million members of staff who require food and drink on shift.
However, four in ten hospital staff have previously said that catering facilities in their workplaces are poor.
It was revealed in 2019 that around a fifth of hot meals served at NHS hospitals were made at one factory in Wiltshire, which were then being shipped as far as 650 miles away.
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