London, Sep 1 (ANI): A new study has shown that food provided at hospitals in the UK is worse than that served to prison inmates, despite huge amounts of money spent by the patients.
According to the Bournemouth University study, jail diets were far "better than most civilians have", and researchers found people on NHS wards do not get the same standard and staff do not check if the food is eaten.
Around 40 percent of patients are malnourished when they arrive at a hospital, but the situation does not tend to improve while they are there.
"Hospital patients don't consume enough. If you are using food as a means of treatment then it's not working," Sky News quoted Professor John Edwards as saying.
"And from the work we've done we know that people who sit round a table eat a lot more, but this doesn't happen in hospitals," he said.
The study found that trays are removed by cleaning staff so that doctors do not know how much was eaten.
In addition, set mealtimes mean patients undergoing tests may miss food altogether, and the researchers said that there was a lack of enough support for those who needed help eating and drinking.
In contrast, prison food was found to be cheaper and healthier.
"If you are in prison then the diet you get is extremely good in terms of nutritional content," Edwards explained.
"The food that is provided is actually better than most civilians have. There's a focus on carbohydrates, then there's the way they prepare the food, it's very healthy.
"They don't add salt and there's relatively little frying of food - if you have a burger then it goes in the oven," he added.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said that good food was important for a patient's treatment and experience of NHS services.
"The majority of patients are satisfied with the food they receive in hospitals, and we are working to improve services further," he stated. (ANI)