Today Which? reveals the dirty hospital kitchens infested by cockroaches and mice.
We uncovered some shocking results when we obtained the hygiene reports for 50 UK hospitals over the past three years.
They contained examples of dirty or mouldy equipment, cockroach infestation and basins with no soap or hot water.
Which? Editor Neil Fowler said: ‘Hospital food hasn’t got the best of reputations, but you’d expect the kitchens to be clean at the very least. Unfortunately, we’ve found this isn’t always the case.’
One of the worst reports concerned the kitchen at the Maudsley Hospital in south London. In 2004 and 2005 inspectors found out-of-date food, poor ventilation, mice and staff not following food safety procedures.
The hospital has since made improvements and environmental health officers are happy with it.
Not all hospital kitchens were dirty and several got honourable mentions – the Bedford Hospital in Fort William, for example, showed high standards of cleanliness.
We also asked patients about their experiences, and found many were going hungry. Twenty-nine per cent of NHS patients complained they were still hungry after meals – compared with only 4 per cent of private patients – while 57 per cent of new mothers said they were left hungry after their meal.
We polled more than 800 people who’d been in hospital over the past year and found only 18 per cent of NHS patients were very satisfied with the overall quality of the food provided.
Neil Fowler added: ‘Our survey shows a low level of satisfaction with hospital food in NHS hospitals. The government paints a rosy picture, but the reality is very different, with many patients left with a nasty taste in their mouths.’
Which? is calling on the government to implement and monitor nutritional standards throughout the NHS and we’re sending our findings to the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency.