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Frightening Incompetence

Every food service operation has some problems matching supply with demand, but strikes me as staggering incompetence (via a reader):

Hospitals are throwing away as much as half of their food, NHS figures show.

Close to 13 million meals were thrown away last year, with 33 hospitals dumping more than a quarter of their food, including two that discarded more than was eaten.

Meanwhile, almost 140,000 patients left hospital malnourished, double the figure a decade ago.

Last year, Ivan Lewis, the health minister, admitted that many elderly people were in effect being starved in hospitals. He said that some were given a single scoop of mashed potato as a meal, while others were "tortured" with trays of food placed beyond their reach and no help with eating.

Maybe the last bit shows that the Brits are enshrining the same "duty to die" that is being discussed in Canada.

Posted on March 31, 2008 at 10:34 AM | Permalink


Or maybe this is like the situation in Florida, where people are born Hispanic and die Jewish. The problem, of course, is in how to interpret the statistic.

Posted by: Bearster | Mar 31, 2008 1:03:53 PM

Early in the morning you tick a form saying what you'd like for dinner. Then the doc sees you, declares you cured and sends you home. Some other patient gets your bed and, poor blighter, your choice of dinner. Two days later, he ticks a form.....

Posted by: dearieme | Mar 31, 2008 1:17:57 PM

I haven't been in the hospital here in the US for two years now, thank God, but I remember the meals as the high point of the day (Lynn Union in Lynn, MA, does a very good poached salmon.)I did see meals that were uneaten -- some people were very, very sick.
This has been going on for quite some time in Britain from the reports I've been seeing. Part of the problem is the 'upgrading' of nurses and at the same time a lack of the old style professionalism you can see on display in the weeper Atonement. The same nurses who plop a food tray down just out of reach of a weak and elderly patient are unwilling to change soiled linen and put filled bedpans under beds. People have complained their elderly parents were given no food and told to get back into their soiled beds. Thatcher is blamed for outsourcing hospital cleaning, although the purposes of that was to enable them to get rid of incompetent cleaners (something not possible in Canada either.) The result is that Clstridum d and superbug is running wild. Don't get sick on a vacation to the UK (although the private hospitals are said to be very good.)

Posted by: John Costello | Mar 31, 2008 3:03:55 PM

I know this is an old post but I wanted to put in my 2 cents. 4 years ago I had cancer and was in the hospital for about half a year, and believe me, you don't want their food.

Posted by: shunha7878 | Apr 3, 2008 5:59:14 AM

My dad was just in the hospital about 2 weeks ago. The one he was in has what many consider to be a regular restaurant. He said the food was good.

I don't understand why a hospital would purchase food, presumably for patients, and then either not feed them and chuck the food or torture them with it....It actually is boggling my mind.

Posted by: la petite chou chou | Apr 3, 2008 8:42:19 PM

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