The House of Lords is currently reviewing the Health and Care Bill, which includes changes to how hospital food and drink is regulated. In particular, the Bill may introduce requirements for the standards of food and drink in hospitals.
Lord Hunt has tabled an amendment to this Bill, calling for mandatory training for catering staff in hospitals. Improved training would improve food quality and ensure that staff recognise and cater for those with dietary beliefs.
The charity, Vegetarian for Life (VfL), which supports vegans and vegetarians in care settings, broadly supports this amendment. Following its Inquiry Report, written with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Veganism and Vegetarianism, it recognises the need for mandatory training. In many cases it found that staff in care settings were not aware of the differences between certain diets and were unable to cater appropriately for them.
However, VfL is calling for the amendments to go further. Beyond training on religious diets, all dietary requirements stemming from philosophical and ethical beliefs should be recognised. Further, the charity wants to see mandatory training for all those that work in care catering, not just hospitals.
Amanda Woodvine, the CEO of VfL, stated: “The move to improve hospital caterer training is welcome and we fully support this. However, we believe that the scope of the amendment needs widening. Staff should be trained to recognise and provide nutritious food for all those following ethical diets.
“We would also like to see these standards broadened to include all care settings, not just hospitals. It is vital that all those catering in the care sector receive improved training to enable them to provide quality care to all.”
To find out more about VfL's campaign, Respect for religious and philosophical beliefs while eating in care, visit: vforlife.org.uk/inquiry