Tonnes of meals wasted at hospital trust

Dewsbury and District Hospital.
Dewsbury and District Hospital.

More than 50 tonnes of hospital meals are going straight in the bin every year at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, new figures show.

According to NHS data, the trust, which includes Dewsbury and District Hospital, recorded 986kg of unserved food going to waste over one seven-day period in March 2018 – the equivalent of 51.3 tonnes every year.

The figure covers just the excess meals left on the trolley at the end of a meal service, and does not include food that patients leave on their plates when they have finished eating.

It includes starters, main meals and desserts during lunch and dinner, but does not include breakfast.

The Government has announced a 10-year plan for the NHS, which includes a commitment to tackle waste.

Rob Percival, policy officer at the Soil Association, said it is often linked to the method NHS trusts use for catering services.

He said that many rely on pre-prepared meals that are delivered to sites which may not have the freezer capacity to keep any surplus.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust spent £5.3 million on food services in the 12 months to March, including labour, delivery and management costs.

During this time, there were 1,029,580 meals requested by patients.

This would give an average cost of £15.39 to feed one patient for a day, if no meals were wasted, compared to a UK-wide average of £12.59.

A spokeswoman for NHS Improvement said: “While there will be legitimate reasons why NHS trusts spend different amounts on food, ensuring that all patients receive high-quality meals is the priority.

“We have recently launched a Healthcare Food Standards Strategy group to support trusts and drive improvement.”