FOOD at the three major hospitals in Worcestershire along with two mental health units in the county has been ranked as some of the worst in the country.
A report issued by the Department of Health on Friday showed Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital as well as the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch ranked in the bottom 20 per cent in England for the quality of the food on offer following inspections carried out between March and June this year.
A pair of mental health units - the Robertson Centre in Kidderminster and Hill Crest in Redditch, both run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust - also scored in the bottom fifth.
The Royal received the lowest score in the county at 82.76 per cent, while the Alex ranked at 85.14 and Kidderminster Hospital 86.67, all below the national average of 88.79 per cent.
Although Hill Crest scored 84.38 per cent while the Robertson Centre received 85.27, all other community hospitals, mental health units and other services run by the Health and Care Trust fared better.
Chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust - which runs the Royal and the Alex along with Kidderminster Hospital - Penny Venables said she was "very disappointed" by the figures.
"Nutrition is an extremely important part of patient recovery and we are constantly striving to improve and continue to invest in nutrition to make sure we are providing high-quality meals which meet the needs of all our patients," she said.
"We take the results of surveys seriously and we will now be looking very closely at the measures we need to take to ensure the quality of our food improves."
Food is provided by an in-house catering team at the Kidderminster Hospital and the Alex, while an external company runs provides meals at the Royal and Mrs Venables said the trust would be meeting with the teams to identify where improvements could be made.
A spokesperson from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said the organisation would work to address the figures.
“The trust runs a number of inpatient units and five community hospitals and the vast majority of these are ranked as either among the best or above average in relation to the quality of the meals provided," she said.
"A couple of our adult mental health wards are below that average.
"These wards support younger adults and we are looking at whether the menus we provide can be tweaked to meet the expectations of younger people a bit more."
Only seven hospitals and services in the country scored lowest than 60 per cent.
Lee Mill, a secure mental health unit in Plymouth, scored lowest in the country at 35.19 per cent while a number of services throughout England achieved 100 per cent.
After the figures were released health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced all hospitals in the country would be ranked on the quality of their food on the NHS Choices website.