NHS hospital food will improve, says Andrew Lansley

Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley said malnourishment should not happen in NHS hospitals

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The government has insisted it is working to improve the quality of hospital food in England.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that "buying standards" would improve, prompting "better nutrition for patients".

Food served in NHS hospitals has come in for criticism, with campaigners arguing that salt and fat levels are too high.

There are also concerns some patients are receiving too little nourishment.

The Sun newspaper has launched a campaign calling for minimum dietary standards on wards.

'Personalised'

Mr Lansley told the Andrew Marr Show that, from 2001 to 2010, when Labour was in power, the "number of patients leaving hospital malnourished went up", adding: "It shouldn't happen."

He said: "I accept we need to ensure, and we are increasingly going to ensure, that patients who are in hospital get the right nutrition. To some extent it's personalised, because what you need as a patient in terms of your diet often is very personal."

He added that the Department of Health was working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs "on a range of projects to demonstrate precisely how the buying standards in hospitals can be used in order to deliver better nutrition for patients".

More than one in 10 patients rated hospital food as poor, according to an official survey of more than 60,000 NHS patients in England published last December.

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