Costa care

THE DEPARTMENT of Health met the government buying standards for 44% of the food it bought last year.

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This doesn’t include hospitals, though they have been encouraged to follow the standards. The Daily Telegraph has taken a particular interest in hospital food, reporting in January that more than one in three hospitals trusts have cut their spending on patients’ meals in the past year. Some are spending as little as 69p a meal. In August the paper revealed that fast-food outlets were swamping England’s hospitals, offering high-sugar drinks and fatty foods. In 160 NHS trusts there are now 92 branches of Costa Coffee, for example. Next most prevalent is WHSmith, once a stationer and now a keen peddler of huge chocolate bars. Health experts suggested that the NHS needs to “get its house in order” with hospitals “selling sickness”.