Patients hungry for change in hospital foodOne in three unhappy with food quality

17 December 2007

Patient in bed eating food

Nutritious food is vital to support a good recovery

The poor quality of food will be cold comfort for patients spending this Christmas in hospital, new Which? research reveals today.

Our survey found that one in three in-patients were unhappy with the quality of food they were served recently in hospital, with one patient describing it as ‘repulsive’. 

Even the staff serving it seem to agree, with one in five admitting they'd be unhappy to eat the food served to patients each day.

Small portions

A quarter of patients surveyed said the food was so bad they had to buy their own or ask friends and family to bring in meals for them. 

Over a quarter found the portions too small; a third didn't like the type of food provided and almost two fifths didn't feel meal times matched when they were able, or wanted, to eat.

In one instance, Which? has heard of a patient with tonsillitis and an abscess who was offered pie and chips when they were struggling to even drink.

Unhappy patients

Which? health campaigner Clare Corbett said: ‘Our research provides yet more evidence that patients and NHS staff are unhappy with hospital food. So why isn't it getting any better?

‘It would seem silence is anything but golden when it comes to hospital care.  Patients with serious concerns don't speak out because they don't think it’ll change anything, or they're afraid it might compromise their care.

‘To put a stop to the hunger on our wards, hospitals must do more to encourage patients to give feedback, and act on what they say.’

Which? surveyed 1000 people who had spent at least one night in hospital in the last 12 months. In addition Which? interviewed 250 hospital staff.

Impatient for Change

Which? recently launched our Impatient for Change campaign, which received the backing of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We aiming to improve all aspects of non-clinical care for hospital in-patients in the NHS such as the quality of hospital food, cleanliness levels and the dignity and respect shown to patients.