A HOSPITAL criticised for not meeting the nutritional needs of its patients has made improvements, a spokeswoman said today (Tuesday, February 4).

Health risks, hungry patients, out of date food and restricted access to fluids were among the issues recently addressed by Middleton-St-George mental health facility The Priory.

Improvements at the hospital were ordered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection in October 2013 uncovered a string of concerns relating to food and nutrition.

A report from the CQC published in December 2013 praised the hospital for making improvements following a previous inspection but went on to say the facility was not meeting the nutritional needs of its patients.

Problems highlighted in the report included the discovery of out of date food – including fishsticks, coleslaw, milk and eggs – in fridges on two wards; patients complaining of always being hungry and being served “disgusting”, “never hot” food; restricted access to water and hot drinks in some wards; limited snacks, which were not always available and differing quality of food depending on the chef.

Immediate action was ordered in relation to one patient whose health was put at risk as a result of inadequate care.

The patient – who had been refusing food - needed support with nutritional wellbeing and had a care plan dictating that all food and fluid intake should be recorded daily and weight recorded fortnightly.

The records were not properly kept. The care plan and weight were not updated, several dates were missing in fluid records and food records for one week showed the patient had apparently only eaten two sausages, two sandwiches and a Chinese takeaway.

The report concluded that the hospital did not always protect its patients from risks of inadequate nutrition and dehydration and said the quality and quantity of food was not adequate to support their wellbeing.

Concerns about the catering were raised with the senior management team who said it was an area already identified for improvement.

A spokesman for the hospital said: “This report relates to an inspection that took place more than three months ago and contains many positive comments from the inspector, patients and staff.

“The one issue which was non-compliant at the time of the inspection had already been identified by the hospital’s internal processes and an action plan formulated.

“We are confident that our actions will satisfy the CQC when the hospital is re-inspected.”