THE Great Western Hospital will now be judged on its food as the NHS introduces mandatory standards across the country.

For the first time, hospitals will be ranked on the NHS Choices website for the quality of their food, the choice available and the cost per day of providing meals.

The latest rankings put the GWH ahead of others, with the quality of its food rated at 90.27 per cent and the choice at 77.44 per cent.

Maria Moore, deputy chief executive and director of finance for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Food and drink in hospital is an essential part of the health, wellbeing and recovery of our patients, and at both Great Western Hospital and in our Wiltshire community hospitals we work hard to provide healthy, nutritious and appetising options for patients.

“These new food rankings for hospitals provide an open and transparent picture of hospital food for patients, families and members of the public.

“The data on NHS Choices comes from the latest PLACE scores. Introduced last year, they assess non-clinical aspects of patient care including food and nutrition.

“Recent PLACE results have identified improvement has been made in the quality of food provided to patients at GWH, which is pleasing. However, we know there are other areas such as food choice and patient meal options where significant improvements are needed.

“We have a Nutritional Working Group, made up of staff from a variety of roles including dietitians and senior nurses, which regularly monitors and tests the food served to patients both at GWH and in our community hospitals.”

The new ranking system will be brought in as part of five new, legally-binding standards, which hospitals will have to comply with.

They include screening patients for malnutrition, which the GWH already carries out, and a food plan for each patient.

Hospitals will also have to take steps to ensure patients get the help they need to eat and drink, canteens will have to promote healthy diets for staff and visitors and food must be sourced sustainably.