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Nutrition: Mothers

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the nutritional value of food served in NHS hospitals to post-natal mothers who are breastfeeding. (295863)

An appropriate diet, based on acceptable standards, requires good food with the right nutritional content, properly prepared and available when patients need it. The NHS Plan stipulated that dieticians should advise and check on nutritional values in hospital food and this role is undertaken locally by staff in national health service trusts. The assessment of the nutritional requirements of post-natal mothers who are breast feeding is a matter for local determination and the Department does not collect any data centrally.

Staff carrying out the assessments are assisted by availability of nutritional information within the ‘National Dish Selector’—a resource compiled as part of the Better Hospital Food programme. Although this programme has now closed, its outputs are still available via the Hospital Caterers’ Association website:

www.hospitalcaterers.org/.

The National Dish Selector is a database of recipes that can be searched by both recipe and ingredient. It is designed to be used by catering services as a resource from which to develop local menus with nutritional content appropriate to patients' needs.