Prue Leith, restaurateur and presenter on Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off, will act as an adviser on a new government review to improve food quality in hospitals.
Working alongside the NHS, the review aims to provide “consistently safe, nutritious and tasty food”.
Every year, the NHS serves more than 140 million meals to patients across the country. The quality and nutritional value of these meals can vary substantially.
The review will therefore explore how food can aid faster recovery, taking into account the unique needs of vulnerable groups, as well as exploring healthier food options for NHS staff.
Also being considered by the review are new systems to monitor food safety and quality more transparently, including looking at how NHS boards are held to account.
It will also mull support from national bodies such as the Soil Association and National Caterers Association to source food services locally and reduce reliance on frozen or packaged foods.
Alongside this, new national standards for healthcare food for patients, staff and visitors will be developed by NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England (PHE). The new standards will reflect government nutrition advice, as outlined in PHE’s Eatwell guide.
The review will also look at how to increase the number of hospitals with their own kitchens and who have their own chefs.
Chair of the Hospital Food Review, Phil Shelley, will meet with catering managers at trusts across the country, looking at best practice from those leading the way in food quality and innovation.
Ms Leith, meanwhile, will draw on her experience working in catering, high-quality restaurants and as a former chair of the School Food Trust in her advisory role.
The review follows the deaths of 6 people linked to an outbreak of listeria in contaminated food earlier this year.
It aims to improve public confidence in hospital food by setting out clear ambitions for delivering high-quality food to patients and the public.