Hospital catering services have improved in Wales, UK, but more needs to be done to make sure that patients get the nutritional care they need, according to a new report by the Auditor General for Wales.
According to the report, many hospitals in Wales provide their patients with an appropriate choice of good-quality food, the wards are cleared up before food arrives, and protected meal times are becoming more common.
Important information about nutritional status, however, is often missing, not all patients receive the help they need at mealtimes, and the recording of food intake of risk patients is not always carried out.
The report also found that financial information about catering services is typically poor, and the amount of food wasted remains unacceptably high in many wards.
The report has outlined recommendations for improvement, to promote consistent nutritional screening, develop a clear costing model for catering services, and establish local and national targets for food wastage.
Auditor General for Wales Huw Vaughan Thomas said that although the report points to encouraging improvements, it also shows that hospitals need to do more to ensure patients are getting the nutritional care they need.
“NHS organisations must recognise the importance of patient nutrition and ensure that there is effective leadership at ward level so that best practice is implemented,” he added.