Cooking with locally grown produce could save the NHS £400m, the catering manager at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has claimed.

John Hughes said the so-called “farm to plate” scheme was already cutting costs at Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre by £2.50 per patient - a figure worth £6m annually.

The initiative gives support to local farmers, who supply the project with 90% of all the produce needed, and saves around 150,000 food miles a year.

Mr Hughes said that while he was initially unsure farmers could produce enough food at a reasonable price, the project was a runaway success.

“I was happy to be proved wrong on both counts,” he said. “It doesn’t actually cost any more and you are going to invest in local communities and the local suppliers you want to develop. On top of that it’s going to save the NHS millions of pounds a year.”