NHS Trusts spending 69p per meal

NHS reforms

As George Osborne warns £25bn more cuts are needed, a new report claims some NHS Trust hospitals are spending just 69p on patient meals. "Worse than prison," was the verdict of one hospital trust.

Some of the cuts are dramatic: Lambeth primary care trust slashed spending from £15.26 to £4.89 per patient per day.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Too much waste

Some patients in Scottish hospitals, it transpires, are being fed on less than £2 a day - less than the cost of a high street cappuccino. Dundee's Ninewells hospitals was singled out as spending just £1.69 a day.

The cost of hospital food, often compared with the cost of prison food, is tricky. Often patients' need help with eating, meaning a lot of waste. While same-day surgery means some people don't spend much time reliant on being fed hospital food, many people are in hospital for long spells, needing good nutrition for recovery.

The Campaign for Better Hospital Food has criticised the quality of food, often high in salt, dished up to UK NHS patients, and accused the Government of exaggerating the quality of hospital food.

In November the Department of Health had claimed half of patient meals met Government Buying Standards. These standards are mandatory for food served in government departments and prisons, but voluntary for hospitals.

Big regional differences

"We've had enough of the government using poor excuses and fiddled figures to justify why it won't introduce mandatory quality standards for patient meals," said Alex Jackson from the campaigning group. "Ministers," Jackson added, "must be living on another planet if they think it's acceptable to set standards to improve meals served to prisoners, but not to sick patients".

The Department of Health has raised the amount the NHS spends on food per year overall. On average UK hospital trusts spend more than £9.50 a day on patient food, up by more than £1 on last year. But there are wide variations on how the cash is spent.

While some NHS patients are fed 69p 'slop', a recent Freedom of Information request by the Independent on Sunday saw many hospital trusts spending millions on artwork. It found 89 NHS Trusts had spent almost £2m on art since 2010, though the true figure is though likely to be higher.

Where are Britain's highest tax bills?
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NHS Trusts spending 69p per meal
St Albans come in second on the list with a total income tax bill of £10,900 per person.
Windsor and Maidenhead came third with a total income tax bill of £10,200 per person.
The Surrey town of Guildford was fourth on the list with a total income tax bill of £9,830 per person.
England's capital city came fifth with a total income tax bill of £8,580 per person.
Wokingham has a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person. Putting it in sixth place.
Dacorum in Hertfordshire comes in joint sixth place with a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person.
The leafy towns of Reigate and Banstead have a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Tonbridge and Malling take joint seventh spot with a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Wycombe comes last in the top ten with a total income tax bill of £6,820 per person.

A small corner of leafy Surrey has taken the top spot in the league table of the highest income tax bills per person. Residents of Elmbridge pay an astonishing £1.18 billion in income tax every year. That puts a number of the major cities in the shade.
The leafy towns of Esher, Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames are filled with mansions, private estates, country clubs, golf courses, and riversides packed with millionaires. The proximity of Chelsea's training ground in Cobham has also brought well-paid sportsmen to the area.


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