More than one in five hospital meals were left uneaten and thrown in the bin in Lincolnshire over the past 12 months, according to new figures.
A report published by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food has revealed that just under 271,000 meals were wasted at hospitals across Lincolnshire of the 1,261,270 served to patients in the last year.
The 21% of hospital meals wasted in Lincolnshire is still lower than the national average of 26%, with some trusts throwing away as much as 70% of all food served.
Nationwide, the statistics show that more than 30 million NHS patient meals (30,558,964) are thrown in the bin each year.
The figures were calculated using information from waste production body WRAP, the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
In 2014, the government announced reforms which implemented hospital food standards for the first time, but campaigners have said that they have failed to deliver the necessary improvements.
Alex Jackson, Co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “The government has been steadfast in its refusal to have the quality of hospital food and hospital food waste monitored by an independent organisation.
“Instead it’s happy to bury the true extent of patient dissatisfaction with what they’re being served.
“But these shocking figures lift the lid on the appalling state of hospital food in our country.
“Patients need nourishing, wholesome meals which are appetising and tasty to eat, not soulless, factory-made food they clearly can’t stomach.
“We want the government to fix hospital food for good by setting higher hospital food standards, putting them into legislation and getting meals independently inspected by an organisation trusted by patients and NHS staff.”
Paul Boocock, Director of Estates and Facilities at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The trust has done a lot of work working with wards to reduce waste to an acceptable level which is lower than the national average.
“Food waste is split into three parts:
1. Production preparation waste such as vegetables peelings
2. Left over produced waste after production
3. Ward waste from untouched meals
“Currently the trust has figures below 10% and we are working with wards to reduce this further. Waste from production is around 2.4%.
“We encourage staff to provide catering departments with timely information which might affect meal orders such as patient movement or discharges and changes in condition which might affect diet or their ability to eat.
“We also assist patients in making their own meal and portion size choices wherever possible and serve meals promptly without delays.”