Campaign claims nearly a quarter of West Suffolk Hospital’s food is wasted

Meals being plated in West Suffolk Hospital's kitchens  ENGANL00120120117165753
Meals being plated in West Suffolk Hospital's kitchens ENGANL00120120117165753

Nearly a quarter of the food served to patients at West Suffolk Hospital is left on the plate, say campaigners.

But figures released by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food which say 23.1 per cent of food is left show the hospital is three per cent better than the UK average.

The campaign accuses Government of ‘burying’ the true food waste figure by only asking hospitals to monitor food left unserved. The campaign’s figures are those gathered by the waste and recycling charity WRAP and the Hospital Caterer’s Association which also monitored ‘patient plate waste’ which it says is 4.2 times higher than unserved meals.

The figures show that of 396,768 served at West Suffolk in 2013/14, 5.5 per cent of the food was unserved and 23.1 per cent left on the plate.

Figures for other health trust range from West Hertfordshire’s 1.73 per cent and 7.25 per cent to Western Sussex’s 14.5 per cent and 60.9 per cent.

A spokesman for West Suffolk hospital accepted the figures for the number of meals and the 5.5 per cent unserved, but said that compared with 13 per cent unserved in 2011/12.

He added: “Our initiatives to reduce hospital food wastage include shortening the time between ordering and service, as sometimes the patient may not be feeling as well as they did when they originally ordered the meal, or they may have been discharged.

“We are working together with ward staff on protected meal times which allow the patient to eat their meals without interruption.

“As well as offering the ability to order a small portion on all our menus, we also offer special menus for people who are just returning to eating or have very small appetites so that they can order a small portion if they wish. This has reduced plate waste and also increased the amount eaten by some patients.”