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Pam Miller, chairman of the Hospital Caterers
"Some of them are very expensive and use expensive cuts of meat"
 real 28k

Mike Stone, the Patients Association
"Food does definitely need changing within hospitals"
 real 28k

Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
New NHS menus 'too expensive'
Hospital food
Patients currently have an average of 2 a day for three meals
New hospital menus devised for the NHS by top chefs are too expensive, warn caterers.

Pam Miller, chairman of the Hospital Caterers, said some hospitals have as little as 2 a day to spend on patients and that this will not fund the new dishes.

BBC Masterchef host Lloyd Grossman was brought in last year to lead a team of food experts for the 40m revamp of NHS food.

Grossman and a posse of Britain's best chefs were asked to create menus suited to individual patients' needs.

There does need to be a thorough review of funds

Mike Stone, of the Patients Association

He promised practical suggestions to improve the quality of food.

But Ms Miller said the basic 2 a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, will not stretch to cover dishes like seafood, dill and parmesan and oriental dishes using the best cuts of meat.

Expensive food

"Some of them are very expensive and use expensive cuts of meat and it is going to prove quite difficult for us.

"We are not starting from a level playing ground. Many trusts are operating on less than 2 a day, whereas others are funded on more than that.

"We are doing quite a good job on 2 a day," she said.

Ms Miller said that she very much favoured Mr Grossman's innovative ideas, which have already been trialled in hospitals.

Lloyd Grossman
Celebrity chef Lloyd Grossman was brought in to revamp hospital food

But she said that if these are to be successfully implemented that budgets need to be extended to cope with this.

Mike Stone, from the Patients Association, said it was time for a radical overhaul of catering funding.

He said the chef led menus like these were exciting and innovative, but needed to be backed by hard cash if they are to work.

He said: "Food does definitely need changing within hospitals.

"Some of the menus they came up with are absolutely brilliant.

"They really are innovative and actually change the whole mind set about hospital food, but like many things within the NHS they have got to be backed up by money.

"There does need to be a thorough review of funds."

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