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Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Publicity stunts and hospital food

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 11 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5369
  1. David Oliver, consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine
  1. Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}
    Follow David on Twitter: @mancunianmedic

Boris Johnson recently announced that Prue Leith, the Great British Bake-Off judge and catering expert, would join the government’s review of hospital food. Over an al fresco breakfast photo opportunity with Leith he claimed that better food would aid recovery and “fuel patients,” extolling the virtues of “hot buttered toast.” Leith added that millions of pounds were wasted each year on “unpalatable” hospital food.12

In reality the health secretary, Matt Hancock, had already announced a “root and branch review” of hospital food back in June, before Johnson became prime minister.3 This review will be chaired by Philip Shelley, ex-head of the Hospital Caterers Association—a man with recent direct experience with the NHS. Leith is simply an adviser.

Hancock’s original plan was in response to nine confirmed cases of listeria, which caused the death of six patients. The cases were traced back to …

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