Liberal Democrat Health spokesman Norman Lamb has unearthed some very worrying information about hygiene levels in hospital kitchens.
Almost half of all hospitals kitchens and or canteens in England could be failing to meet cleanliness and hygiene standards, according to a nationwide survey by the Liberal Democrats.
Nearly a fifth of hospitals surveyed kept food at the wrong temperatures or in unsafe conditions, while 11 hospitals had problems with vermin.
Some of the hospitals, whose record were obtained via the Lib Dems seeking the local council's own environmental health reports via the Freedom of Information Act, reported problems including cockroaches and mouse droppings in kitchens, medical waste on food handling equipment and poor personal hygiene in staff.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb MP said:
"These findings paint a shocking picture of hospital food hygiene in this country. It is simply unacceptable that such terrible practices are taking place in an environment where hygiene and safety should be paramount.
"Sick people are already vulnerable to infection. They don't need the added risk of food-borne bacteria spread by lax standards.
"Patients have a right to know how their food is being prepared when they go into hospital. Hygiene standards must be made public via clear and accessible ratings for each institution.
"The worst performers should be named and shamed - while those doing well would stand as an example to drive up standards."
Worryingly, the hospital where my wife has just recently spent 10 days was named in the top (or should that be bottom) five hospitals. My own anecdotal evidence of the food was that it was good, although a bit cold by the time it reached my wife. The main concern for me was the portions. Quite often I would have to take my wife to the canteen and buy her another meal in order that she could actually be full up, which when a patient is trying to heal themselves, is quite important.