Dirty hospitals and care homes pose high risk of food poisoning for patients
Patients are being put at high risk of food poisoning after an investigation has found some 400 hospitals, hospices and nurseries are currently listed as requiring "major", "urgent" or "necessary" improvement in food and hygiene ratings.
Analysis of food hygiene reports obtained by The Press Association revealed reports of patients being served out-of-date food, mouldy kitchens and unclean worktops, food trolleys and sinks across a variety of health and care facilities, including care homes and school clubs.
The data, gathered from a Freedom of Information request and reports from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), also found evidence of a cockroach infestation at one care home, with another showing signs of rats.
None of the eight care premises scoring a zero rating of "urgent improvement necessary" were hospitals, but at least three hospitals and 187 other institutions scored the second lowest score of one - "major improvement necessary".
And 205 are ranked as two - improvement necessary. They include six hospitals and about 100 care homes.
Among those given the ranking of two was Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, whose Bennion Centre for the elderly, the Bradgate mental health unit and at the L'Eat restaurants for patients and visitors were ranked as inadequate.
An inspection of patient catering kitchens in August found sliced chicken two days past its use-by date. Inspectors found staff had created their own date labels for when they thought food should be used, creating a "high risk" for patients who might develop food poisoning.
The report pointed to major problems with condensation, saying: "There was a lot of water in the corridors and store rooms caused by condensation on walls and ceilings which was dripping and pooling on the floor.
"There was a lot of mould and mouldy sealant caused by the damp conditions."
Flies were also found in the washing-up area, salad was being washed in a sink in direct contact with the plug and bags of salad had passed their use-by date but were being used for sandwiches and salads.
Darryn Kerr, director of facilities at Leicester's Hospitals, said the organisation was "disappointed" by the ratings. He said catering services were brought back in-house in May after being run by an external provider.
Parkview Residential Care Home in Bexleyheath, south-east London, was found to have an "infestation of Oriental cockroaches" during an August inspection.
The kitchen was closed voluntarily for the second time following a previous warning and inspectors gave it a zero rating.