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Hospital food big spender

PUBLISHED: 10:04 18 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:49 05 July 2010

Patients at community hospitals in Suffolk get £24 spent on their food every day - more than the cost of some restaurants - while their Norfolk counterparts have just half that.

Patients at community hospitals in Suffolk get £24 spent on their food every day - more than the cost of some restaurants - while their Norfolk counterparts have just half that.

The huge differences in the

amount spent on hospital food have been revealed in figures recently published by the NHS Information Centre.

NHS Suffolk, which runs some community hospitals in Suffolk, spends more than any other NHS body in the country on patient food - £24.65 per patient per day. The comparable figure for NHS Norfolk is £11.40. But this is generous compared with some hospitals which spend less than £3. West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust is the lowest spender in the country, spending just £1.96 a day.

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “Providing patients with good-quality, nutritious food is extremely important, as the right diet can play a key role in helping people to recover from illness.

“We make sure that we provide a good choice of foods for all of our patients, and that those on special diets, such as low fat, low potassium or wheat-free diets, are well catered for.”

All East Anglia's hospitals spend well above the minimum levels. The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital spends the least in this area at £5.89 a day, although as one of the biggest hospitals in the region it has more economies of scale than smaller trusts. Dishes on the menu include roast turkey, beef and onion pie and sticky toffee pudding.

Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust spends the fourth highest amount in the country - £16.25 a day, partly because it has smaller sites and staff and transport costs across eight inpatient sites. Patients have a choice of meals including chicken breast chasseur followed by fruit crumble, or cottage pie followed by cheese and biscuits.

Paul Cracknell, director of business support at the mental health trust, said: “Patients get good-quality meals because they get choice and they get good-quality food. Food is part of the whole environment and is important to a patient's recovery.

Suffolk Mental Health Trust is another the country's most generous spenders, spending £14.09 a day on food.

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