FINANCE:  Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust was last week forced to admit that an error has occurred somewhere in its data submission on hospital food to the NHS Information Centre.

The trust was identified as the lowest spender in England by the information centre, with national newspapers reporting that it spent just £2.57, or 86p per meal, a day on meals per patient.

However, a spokesman the trust said it had submitted the wrong data and the actual figure was £8.46 per patient per day.

In an accompanying statement, trust director of estates and facilities Paul Hatcher said: “Unlike other trusts the figure represents only the cost of ingredients, and not the total spent on sourcing, preparing, cooking and serving food and drink. If those costs are included our figure is £8.46 per patient, per day.

“The last reports from the Patient Experience Action Teams rated patient food at all three of our hospitals as ‘excellent’, and in the last national inpatient survey our trust was rated by patients as being fractionally outside the top 20% in the country for the standard of food.“