Date Thursday 30 November 2006
NHS Food should be ‘Food for Good' - UNISON
UNISON the union that represents hospital catering staff today
said that the adoption of nutritional standards across the whole
public sector and a system of compliance enforcement was needed
to improve nutrition in hospital food. The union also said that
more organic and locally-sourced food should be used, and that catering
staff should remain as part of the health team in hospitals and
not be privatised.
These comments came as a response to today's Audit Scotland follow-up
report on hospital catering that showed much improvement in patient
choice, reduced food wastage and cost control, but indicated a need
to improve nutritional care.
Tom Waterson, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Health Group said "Staff
in Scotland's hospitals have been doing a tremendous job in improving
the standard of hospital catering on a shoestring. "Now we need
to implement a ‘Food for Good' programme of action across the public
sector, with hospitals as a key component. This would involve nutritional
standards being set for public sector provision of food, with regulators
responsible for ensuring compliance. This would cover schools, hospitals,
prisons, care homes etc. and would build on the work already underway
in schools and in the health service by NHS Quality Improvement
UNISON also says there is a need for a commitment to a properly
resourced and staffed service. This requires fair pay and conditions
and proper training and the absolute principle that children's health
comes before commercial factors.
Tom Waterson said "It is essential that if there are impediments
to boosting patient's health which are linked to the Private Finance
Initiative and Public Private Partnership schemes, then these are
overcome. Clearly we need to ensure hospitals have suitable kitchens
and equipment to allow staff to cook fresh produce on site and serve
it in a positive dining environment. If PFI/PPP schemes do not allow
for this, intervention is needed."
UNISONScotland launched its ‘Food for Good' Charter, in 2003 -
urging targets on the NHS for sourcing organic and fair trade food
as well as dealing with concerns about privatisation of hospital
catering and the impact on the quality of food available to patients.
For Further Information Please Contact: Tom Waterson (Chair
- Scottish Health Group) 0775 362 7575 (m) Glyn Hawker (Scottish
Organiser - Health) 07876 441 237(m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)