Cigarette vending machines on the cancer ward, a free bar on the liver transplant unit, McDonald’s and Burger King outlets in hospitals and fried breakfasts on offer to coronary patients.

The doctors would never stand for it. Would they?

Well, according to a leading cardiologist there is not much they can do about it.

I made up the part about the free bar and the cigarette machine, but they are no more ridiculous suggestions than the other examples of providing unhealthy food to hospital patients. Worryingly, they happen to be true.

Dr Aseen Malhotra spends his days repairing the damage to arteries and hearts caused by a poor lifestyle and an unhealthy diet. He believes hospitals should set an example of what healthy eating means.

In an article in the Observer, he says patients deserve to be served fresh, healthy food that is cooked on site not frozen and reheated, cheap but not nutritious.

Some places can do it like the Royal Brompton Trust in London so why not everywhere?

He suggests the best way to achieve this would be one menu across the whole NHS.

And while they are at it, Dr Malhotra says vending machines selling chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks should be banned from hospital grounds. If they can do it in schools…