Scotland’s NHS has published refreshed and extended nutritional guidelines for hospital food to ensure all patients get the best possible nourishment. A consultation has also been launched on whether these guidelines should be made legally binding – a move which would be a first for the UK.

Food in Hospitals 2016, published by NHS Health Facilities Scotland, is a revision of previous guidelines from 2008. It sets out nutrition and catering criteria for patients in hospitals. It also gives information on how the guidelines can be met, through assessments of the patients’ dietary needs menu planning and practical suggestions on food choices suitable for different dietary needs.

The revised guidelines include:
• A new section to cover food in children’s hospitals and wards, including nutrition standards for specific age groups, and guidance on portion sizes and appropriate kitchenware
• New guidance on the provision of hospital food and fluid based on updated research and guidance from experts 
• Updated guidance on food allergens 
• Guidance on the importance of audit and monitoring of standards