THE town’s MP is calling on patients at the Conquest to let her know what they think of the food on offer.
In response to people’s comments, Hastings MP Amber Rudd has launched a survey inviting people who have experience of the hospital’s food to tell her what they think.
The survey is being launched in partnership with the Friends of the Conquest Hospital.
Ms Rudd said: “I am delighted that the Friends of the Conquest Hospital have decided to do this with me. It is so important that we listen to patient feedback to improve quality and standards at the hospital.
“I hope that anyone who has experienced the hospital food recently will take five minutes to tell me what they think.”
Margaret Williams, vice-chairman of the Friends, said: “It is essential the food that patients receive in hospital is of good quality and is nutritious.
“This speeds up the recovery and allows them home earlier which is a win-win situation for both the patient and the hospital.”
The survey will be on both Ms Rudd’s website, www.amberrudd.co.uk, and the Friends’ of the Conquest Hospital’s website, www.friendsoftheconquest.org.
They will share the results of the survey with the trust but all answers will be anonymous.
In a recent Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health, Ms Rudd discovered that spending on patient food at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has fallen significantly behind the national average.
The answer from the Department of Health showed that in 2004-05 the average cost of feeding one patient per day in England was £5.32 and at the local hospital trust was £5.87. By 2010-11 the average cost in England had risen to £8.58 but in East Sussex it had only risen to £6.65, almost £2 below the national average.
Ms Rudd said: “It was worrying to learn that spending on hospital food locally has fallen behind the national average by almost £2 a day. I have written to the chief executive of the trust to get answers on this.”
A trust spokesman said: “The figures mentioned can be misleading as they do not represent the cost of food alone, they represent the gross cost of providing food to patients, which includes the costs of food production, staff resources and service methods. Therefore, the figures are not accurately comparable nationally as different trusts have different food production methods, staff resources and service methods which all vary in cost.
“We have worked hard to ensure we are as efficient as possible in the overall cost of producing and serving our meals Our daily spend on food alone, on average, is around £3.50 which represents more than 50 per cent of the overall cost. All our recipes and menus are nutritionally assessed by dieticians and we are prudent in our purchasing and monitor our waste closely so we can maximise the quality of dishes presented to the patient.
“We place great importance on the patient experience and gain regular positive feedback on the level of satisfaction in our meals. The latest inspection from the Patient Experience Action Team (PEAT) was completed in February and results are indicating that all aspects of food service, food quality, availability and presentation has improved and we forecast a score of “Good/Excellent” for all our sites.”