Throughout the pandemic, partnerships between the public and private sectors have been vital in securing the resources to protect public health. As one element of that partnership, independent sector providers, for example, delivered almost 7 million episodes of care for NHS patients between April 2020 and December 2021 according to hospital episode statistics data. We continue to support the partnership approach more broadly as part of our plans both to tackle the backlog of elective care and to improve broader health outcomes.
I thank the Minister for that response. As he is aware, the national diet and nutrition survey has shown that average intakes of dietary fibre in the United Kingdom are well below recommended levels and less than a quarter of those of countries such as Denmark, where the Government work across industry on a public-private partnership basis to boost wholegrain intakes. What consideration has the Minister given to implementing such an initiative in the United Kingdom to provide a much-needed boost in fibre intakes among the public?
The hon. Gentleman makes a typically sensible and reasonable point. Government advice on a healthy balanced diet is encapsulated in the UK’s national food model, the “Eatwell Guide”. It includes advice on incorporating fibre into the diet through fruit and vegetables, bread, rice and pasta. We set nutritional standards for catering in all Government Departments and related organisations to improve the nutritional content of food served, including increasing fibre. I agree that it would be helpful to increase intakes of fibre in our diet, guided appropriately by clinical and medical advice, and a key element of achieving that is working with industry.