To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the ability of hospitals to meet the nutritional and hydration needs of patients admitted to hospital; and what plans he has to review the (a) effectiveness of hospitals in meeting such needs and (b) adequacy of the Care Quality Commission inspection regime in this respect.
The Department has worked with NHS England to ensure that food standards are written into the NHS Standard Contract 2016/17. Irrespective of the food service type, all National Health Service providers are obliged, under the terms of their legally-binding contracts with commissioners, to adhere to the recommendations of the Hospital Food Standards Panel in August 2014. These are published at:
The Department introduced Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) in April 2013 to assess the quality of the patient environment, including hospital food. The food and hydration section provides a detailed assessment of the quality of the food and food services being provided. PLACE assesses compliance with four food standards relevant to patient nutrition and hydration as recommended by the Hospital Food Standards Panel.
The existing registration system, established under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, requires all providers of health and adult social care regulated activities to meet essential levels of safety and quality, and nutrition and hydration is a part of this.
Led by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for developing and consulting on its methodology for inspecting compliance with this fundamental standard and has complete independence in the decisions it makes about how to do this. The CQC’s inspections make use of a highly skilled inspection resource that includes specialist inspectors, clinical and other experts and people with experience of care. These inspections have increased the confidence that the public has in the CQC’s judgements. The CQC may prosecute providers who breach this standard without first issuing a warning notice.