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NHS: Nutrition

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Statement made by the Baroness in Waiting, Baroness Thornton, of 6 May 2008, Official Report, column GC151, on the Health and Social Care Bill, in what ways the NHS Operating Framework is being used to tackle poor nutritional care. (206646)

My noble Friend was referring to a number of tools, including the Nutrition Action Plan Programme and the NHS Operating Framework, which the Department is using to improve dignity and nutritional standards.

The ‘NHS in England: The operating framework for 2007-08’ (copies of which are available in the Library) sets out 10 principles for the NHS. The second of these is:

“We will help keep people healthy and work to reduce health inequalities”.

“We will continually seek opportunities to promote health, as well as to treat illness. Recognising that good health also depends upon social, environmental and economic factors such as deprivation, housing, education and nutrition, we will work with other services as appropriate to prevent ill health and reduce health inequalities.”

The fifth is:

“We will treat every patient with dignity and respect”.

“We will treat every patient, service user and carer as a valued individual, with respect for their dignity and privacy. Our aim is to give each patient the care and service we would want for ourselves and our families.”

The Operating Framework for 2008-09 includes a number of enabling strategies. One of these, “Empowering patients—choice, information and personalisation”, requires primary care trusts to “create a more personalised service that provides” (inter alia) “a good user experience, where service users feel that their dignity is respected”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to develop a national occupational health standard for nutritional care. (206664)

There are already national minimum standards on the provision of food and drink in care homes and hospitals, for example standard 15 of the Care Homes for Older People's standard, which covers meals and mealtimes.

We have no plans to develop a national occupational health standard for nutritional care.