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Shadow Health Secretary pledges for legally enforced nutritional hospital standards

On the first day of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) Learning and Development forum, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary announced a pledge to make the mandatory nutritional standards for hospital food legally enforceable putting them on the same footing as school food.

Ashworth said, “Let me reiterate under a Labour Government high quality hospital catering will be at the heart of our vision for the NHS with legally enforced standards for hospitals meals, fully resourced and given the support from government to be delivered in-house.”

During Ashworth’s contribution to the HCA Forum, he mentioned his pleasure in meeting long serving member, Ann Shaw, who has served 50 years in the NHS. He continues by commending the association for playing their part in every illness and endorses the HCA’s ‘Food is the best form of medicine’ campaign.

Ashworth added, “And as we celebrate 70 years of the NHS this July and as you celebrate 70 years as an association you can be proud of all you have achieved, and you have my commitment to working together in the coming years to improve and support the high quality care every patient deserves.”

Stewart McKenzie, National Chair of the HCA, commented, “The Hospital Caterers Association is fully behind and supports the call for mandatory nutritional standards being regulated called by Jonathan Ashworth today. We’ve campaigned tirelessly for these to be regulated and ask for the current government to adopt these measures. We believe funds should be ring-fenced to support this.”

Prior to the forum, Ashworth took up HCA forum chair Andy Jones’ invitation to visit Nottingham University Hospital, to experience first-hand the work done by hospital caterers.

Ashworth said, “Hospital catering is an essential part of making sure that all patients get the best possible quality of care. Over 70 years the Hospital Caterers Association, formed the same year as the NHS itself, has led from the front in ensuring that patient care is enhanced by good nutritious food and beverages delivered every day. For Labour, nutritional standards will be a central focus in our public health drive to improve the wellbeing of the nation.”

During the visit to Nottingham University Hospital, Ashworth was able to visit a ward, see service being delivered and view their new patient memory menu. Nicola Strawther, Chief Dietetic Technician, Chris Neale, Head of Catering and Ann Marie Riley, Deputy Chief Nurse who helped deliver the visit are speaking on Thursday at 4pm on the HCA’s campaign ‘Power of 3’. They will also offer up a case study on PJ paralysis a new initiative they have been working on and explain their new memory menu.