MP Anne Main's renewed concern on West Herts hospital food

PUBLISHED: 12:02 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

MP Anne Main has repeated her concern at Government figures showing local hospitals are among the lowest spending when it comes to food for patients. As reported in November by the Herts Advertiser, figures from the NHS Information Centre showed that West

MP Anne Main has repeated her concern at Government figures showing local hospitals are among the lowest spending when it comes to food for patients.

As reported in November by the Herts Advertiser, figures from the NHS Information Centre showed that West Herts Hospital Trust (WHHT) spent £1.96 per day on each patient's food between 2007 and 2008 - less than that spent on prisoners.

The national average was around £7.20.

WHHT, which provided about 513,000 meals over the year at St Albans City, Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals, was revealed to be the lowest spending healthcare trust out of the 340 which provided the data.

Meanwhile patients at nearby Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust enjoyed the luxury of meals costing £8.22 per day - £6.20 more expensive than the WHHT food.

St Albans MP Mrs Main said after the reports re-emerged in the national press this week: "It can be no coincidence that our patients are allocated amongst the lowest NHS funding per head in the country. I don't know how any politician can maintain that it is 'fair' to redistribute funds to the extent that there appears to be only a measly £2 or less left over in the budget to spend daily on food. I can't even imagine how our local hospitals are managing to ensure patients have a balanced diet on less than £2 a day."

She added:"We should not allow Hertfordshire's patients to be disadvantaged.The Government needs to face up to the fact that the funding formula for Hertfordshire is causing real financial constraints and this meagre food budget only underlines this."

At the time the news was originally reported, a spokesperson for WHHT said the trust had upped its spending to £2.10 per patient per day - an increase of 14 pence.

She said a satisfaction survey in all three hospitals had found that 93 per cent of patients at Watford General Hospital, where the ready-meal system Steamplicity is used, thought the overall quality of food was good or better. At St Albans City Hospital 87 per cent of patients felt the same while 80 per cent did at Hemel Hempstead Hospital.

The spokesperson also pointed out that Watford and St Albans hospitals achieved a good rating in food services in a recent PEAT (Patient Environment Action Team) survey in which Hemel Hempstead Hospital was given an "acceptable" score.

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