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Nurses to be involved in planning hospital patients’ meals to aid recovery

RCN says nursing staff shortages will affect proposed food services

TVs Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, nursing staff, dietitians and NHS caterers set out independent review on how trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals

Nurses are to be part of a government expert group after a report into hospital food recommends nutritious meals should be part of patients recovery plan.

Prue Leith

An independent review , led by Channel Fours Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, set out how NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals in hospitals.

A group made up of nurses, dietitians and NHS caterers will decide on the next steps after the

TV’s Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, nursing staff, dietitians and NHS caterers set out independent review on how trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals

Nutritious meals should be part of NHS hospital patients’ recovery plan
Picture: Alamy

Nurses are to be part of a government ‘expert group’ after a report into hospital food recommends nutritious meals should be part of patients’ recovery plan.

Prue Leith

An independent review, led by Channel Four’s Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, set out how NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals in hospitals.

A group made up of nurses, dietitians and NHS caterers will decide on the next steps after the review – published 26 October – stated that increasing their role in overseeing food services could aid in patient care.

Measures include appropriate food hygiene and allergen training

Recommendations from the review include upgraded kitchens that cater for everyone – from facilities for staff to store, prepare and eat food at any time to hot meals for new mums, or patients hungry after a long fast due to surgery.

Agreed national professional standards for NHS chefs, including appropriate compulsory food hygiene and allergen training, were also recommended.

Chair of the hospital food review Philip Shelley said: ‘The well-being of our NHS staff is vital because it affects their mental and physical health, as well as the quality of care they deliver for patients.

‘A lack of nutritious food and drink can contribute to feelings of stress and lack of control in the workplace.’

Nurses unable to access healthy and nutritious food during shifts

However, the RCN is concerned that staff shortages will mean nurses are not able to use the upgraded facilities and services being proposed.

A spokesperson said: ‘It should not have taken this length of time to recognise the need for staff to have access to healthy and nutritious food during their shift.

‘Unless there is enough nursing staff, those that remain will not even be able to use services proposed by this long-awaited review.’

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) anticipates implementing the findings of the review this year and in 2021.

However, the DHSC said some of the recommendations from the review could be implemented immediately by trusts, including a checklist for catering managers and chief executives, making sure nurses, dietitians and catering staff work closely to develop patient care plans and raising concerns around food safety.

Find out more

Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food (2020)


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