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The Truth about Hospital Food (49 mins)

8pm Monday 21 Feb 2011 Channel 4
With NHS figures showing that more people than ever before are leaving hospital malnourished, Dispatches reveals the shocking truth about catering in the NHS. Not only is much of the food disgusting, but some patients are suffering as a result of cost-cutting and sloppy production.
Reporter Mark Sparrow spent ten weeks in traction in hospital, forced to rely on NHS food. The quality of his meals was so bad that he set up a blog and began to record his experiences. He photographed and filmed dozens of meals.
Since being released from hospital he has set out to discover whether his experience was a one-off or symptomatic of a deeper problem.
Sparrow meets young people with cystic fibrosis, whose survival depends on getting the right diet. They tell him that the NHS is failing them and that their parents have to take them out of hospital to local pubs and restaurants to make sure that they eat properly and obtain the necessary calorie content.
Mark also meets the relatives of elderly people who have been served revolting food and then given no help eating it. They tell him that NHS staff have falsified records to show that patients have consumed meals where, in reality, the food was untouched. Mark finds that a national network of patients groups is springing up to campaign against the mistreatment of the elderly.
Mark goes in search of solutions, visiting hospitals that succeed in feeding patients on a limited budget. He explores whether introducing more competition would drive up standards.
If you want more information about the hospital food petition, go to

Watch it here: (available for the next 28 days)

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