Thousands of meals binned every year at Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Whittington Hospital threw away more than 40,000 meals in two years, new figures reveal.

On average, 72 meals a day were binned across 17 wards at the Highgate hospital in 2011. In 2012, the amount reduced to 49.

Overall, 44,165 meals were thrown away by the hospital’s kitchen – costing an average of £3.23 each and a total of £142,652.

The figures, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, are for meals which were prepared and sent to wards but not eaten by patients.

Hospital bosses say new measures have been introduced to tackle food waste, including a system where meals are only prepared on demand instead of in large batches.

The hospital spent £1.3million on patient meals in 2011. This was reduced to £972,679 in 2012 after a drop in the total number of individual meals being produced from 386,400 to 300,971.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “We are continually striving to be an efficient trust and, in the last eight months, we have paid particular attention to addressing the issue of food waste.

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“In 2011-12, meals were ordered by patients the day before and, on the day, large batches of food were heated. As part of our plan to reduce waste, we have introduced a new system where meals are heated on demand.

“Over the past eight months, this has been rolled out across seven wards and is being considered for the rest of the hospital.

“This new system has resulted in a reduction of food waste. Current waste levels are 5.8 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent of food cooked in 2011-12. Additional measures are being considered to further reduce waste.”