PRIME minister Boris Johnson has visited Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) in Reading with Bake Off star Prue Leith today (October 26).
The visit marks the publication of a new review into hospital food.
A tweet from the UK Prime Minister’s account said the pair saw how hospital food across the country will be improved “meaning tastier, more nutritious meals for patients and staff”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also attended.
During the two-hour visit, the politicians met the Trust’s acting Chief Executive, Nicky Lloyd and Chair, Graham Sims and were given a behind the scenes look at the hospital’s vast catering operation and a tour of new facilities in the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU).
The visit was to mark the publication of the government’s Hospital Food Review, an independent study into hospital food, which was commissioned last year and was led by Bake Off star and cook, Prue Leith and Phil Shelley, who chaired the Review.
They both joined the visit to the hospital today.
The Prime Minister and Ms Leith were given a guided tour of the hospital’s kitchens and restaurant area where around 750,000 patient meals and 267,000 staff and visitor meals are made and served each year.
They visited the food storage rooms with Catering Manager, Daniel Cripps, and helped to pick the main ingredients for the day’s menus.
Meanwhile, the Health and Social Care Secretary was shown new X ray equipment, which will be brought into use this week for patients in the Emergency Department Minor Injuries unit (MIU).
Following his inspection of the site, the Health and Social Care Secretary re-joined the Prime Minister to meet staff and to help the catering team serve breakfast to staff starting and finishing their shifts.
Speaking after the visit, Nicky Lloyd said: “It was an honour to welcome our visitors today and to be selected as the hospital from which the NHS Food Review is launched.
“We are enormously proud of the work being done every day by our hard working catering teams to provide our staff, patients and visitors with good quality, healthy, varied and tasty meals.
“It’s a major logistical operation, dealing with 50 deliveries a week, preparing and cooking thousands of meals, maintaining sufficient supplies and devising menus that are nutritious and cater for a wide range of dietary, religious and ethical needs.
“The Chair and I were very pleased to be able to showcase our team’s work and I think that our visitors were very impressed by what they saw.
“Our catering systems are already in line with the proposals outlined in the Hospital Food Review – providing nutritious meals to aid a faster recovery, maintaining stringent food safety measures and paying heed to the environmental impact of our food chain.”
The government has today announced it will establish an expert group of NHS caterers, dietitians and nurses to take forward the recommendations made in the Hospital Food Review and decide on next steps.
These include upgrading hospital kitchens so a 24/7 service can be provided to everyone and introducing digital menus and food ordering systems which can factor in a patient’s dietary and cultural requirements and nuritional needs.