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‘We don’t need Prue Leith to tell us hospital food should get an overhaul’

RCN unimpressed after ministers call on food campaigner and Great British Bake Off judge to review NHS catering

RCN unimpressed after ministers call on food campaigner and Great British Bake Off judge to review NHS catering


Hospitals are often unable to provide fresh meals on site and must buy them in from
outside. Picture: Neil O'Connor

A review of hospital food involving Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, has been dismissed by the RCN.

A report will examine whether more hospitals could serve freshly-cooked meals prepared on-site, rather than depending on outside caterers.

Review commissioned in response to hospitals’ listeria deaths

Health secretary Matt Hancock commissioned the review in response to the deaths of six people earlier this year who contracted listeria after eating hospital sandwiches and salads.


Prue Leith has a track record in
food-standards campaigning

RCN England director Patricia Marquis said: ‘You don't need a celebrity chef to tell you hospital food needs an overhaul. Our expectations go beyond half-baked schemes, no matter how noble.’

‘When can nurses see a review of safe staffing?’

She took issue with ministers for appearing prepared to review hospital food but not the staffing pressures faced by nurses.

‘When can nurses expect a full review of safe staffing including the need for legislation?’ she asked.

Cookery writer's track record in driving higher food standards in healthcare and schools 

Despite the RCN's misgivings, Ms Leith has a long track record of working to improve food in health settings, having previously backed the Campaign for Better Hospital Food and supported work to improve nutrition for people with dementia. 

In 2006 she chaired the School Food Trust and worked to improve the standard of food offered in the education system.

Ms Leith, said: ‘A hospital meal should be a small highlight, a little pleasure and comfort, and it should help, not hinder, the patient's recovery.’

Mr Hancock said: ‘I'm determined patients [should] enjoy the best, most delicious and nutritious food to help them recover.’


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