9,000 hos­pi­tal meals end up in the bin – in just a week

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - News - CLAIRE MILLER news@west­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

HOS­PI­TALS in the West are wast­ing four tonnes of food a week – with the equiv­a­lent of around 9,000 meals per week end­ing up in the bin.

Fig­ures from NHS Dig­i­tal show 4.5 tonnes worth of food was left on the serv­ing trol­ley in a sin­gle week at the trusts cov­er­ing the area in March this year. If an av­er­age main meal is around 500g, that would mean around 9,000 meals a week are go­ing to waste.

Un­served meals of­ten hap­pened when they are or­dered for pa­tients who are then dis­charged or taken for treat­ment, or where ex­tra meals have been pre­pared just in case a pa­tient wants one. The to­tal was made up of 588kg of starters, 2.9 tonnes of main meals and 983kg of desserts.

Royal United Hos­pi­tal in Bath had the high­est lev­els of waste, with 835kg of food left on trol­leys at hos­pi­tal in the week of mon­i­tor­ing.

The ac­tual amount of food waste at the trust is likely to be even higher, as the fig­ures don’t in­clude any waste in the prepa­ra­tion of meals, waste in cafés and restau­rants, or food that was given to pa­tients and then not eaten.

Re­search by WRAP, a char­ity that works with busi­nesses, in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties to re­duce waste and im­prove sus­tain­abil­ity, sug­gests only 8 per cent of food waste in hos­pi­tals may be due to un­served meals.

Trusts across the West

spent £27.1 mil­lion on in­pa­tient food ser­vices in 2017/18, and served up 7.8 mil­lion main meals last year.

The av­er­age cost of feed­ing a pa­tient for a day ranged from £6.55 at St Leonards Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal in Dorset to £19.34 at the Ware­ham Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal.

NHS trusts across Eng­land were asked to mea­sure the amount of un­served meals re­main­ing on trol­leys at the end of lunch and din­ner meal ser­vices dur­ing the week be­gin­ning March 19, 2018.

The un­served starters, mains and desserts were col­lected and then weighed, with the to­tals over the week cal­cu­lated.

Across Eng­land, more than 273 tonnes of food went un­served at NHS trusts in the week in March, in­clud­ing around 32 tonnes of starters, 179 tonnes of mains, and 63 tonnes of desserts.

WRAP’s ad­vice for health­care providers on how they can cut waste sug­gests re­duc­ing the amount of un­served meals by en­sur­ing meal or­der­ing forms are prop­erly filled out, with sup­port for pa­tients who need help.

As well as putting in place con­fir­ma­tion of the num­ber of meals needed just be­fore ser­vice starts, they sug­gest mak­ing sys­tems flex­i­ble – so pa­tient meals can be trans­ferred be­tween wards if some­one moves and can­cels, or or­ders at short no­tice, with ‘just in case’ meal or­der­ing dis­cour­aged.

The ad­vice also sug­gests us­ing un­served pa­tients meals in the hos­pi­tal restau­rant.

Over­all, NHS trusts spent £590 mil­lion on in­pa­tient food ser­vices in 2017/18, with 141 mil­lion main meals re­quested last year.

274 Tonnes of food that went to waste in NHS trust hos­pi­tals in Eng­land dur­ing

one week in March this year

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.