One Third Of Brits Back Plant-Based Shift In Hospitals

A "plant-based by default" approach could save the NHS millions, researchers say


3 Minutes Read

Photo shows a healthcare worker handing an older patient a bowl of brightly colored salad while she reclines in a hospital bed Default plant-based meals in hospitals could promote health and sustainability - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

One third of Brits claim they would back an entirely plant-based menu in NHS hospitals to promote health, sustainability, and better-quality meals.

Read more: Quorn And Meat ‘Blended’ Sausages To Be Served In UK Hospitals

Education and advocacy group Plant-Based Health Professionals UK (PBHP) commissioned the research, which surveyed 2,000 respondents about the current quality of hospital food. According to PBHP, around one in three were in favor of an entirely plant-based menu.

While 53 percent of those surveyed said that it’s important for hospitals to promote healthy lifestyles, just 11 percent thought the meals currently served to patients are healthy. Approximately 30 percent thought that plant-based meals would be healthier, and another 30 percent believed they would be better for the environment, too.

PBHP founder and Consultant Haematologist Dr Shireen Kassam, has suggested a “plant-based by default” approach to hospitals, similar to the one implemented in New York City. She noted that this could both provide better health outcomes for patients and help the NHS achieve Net Zero targets by reducing its carbon footprint by up to 50 percent.

“The survey results demonstrate that the general public would be positive about the switch to plant-based menus,” said Kassam in a release sent to Plant Based News. “In New York, where hospitals offer plant-based by default menus, the approval rating from patients was 95 percent, when fewer than one percent of patients were vegetarian and vegan.”

Read more: Danish Court Rules No Human Rights Violation In Lack Of Vegan Hospital Options

British public shows ‘appetite to see change’

A piece of blue card with the NHS logo on it
Adobe Stock The NHS hospital menus are currently heavy on animal products

Such a move could also save the NHS £74 million annually, which could prove significant after over a decade of “chronic under-resourcing,” the strain from COVID-19, and countless other factors contributing to the current record low patient satisfaction.

“Everyone has a vision in their minds when they think of hospital food – and it is rarely positive, so it is certainly time the food had a refresh,” said Kassam. “Plant-based dishes not only offer health, financial, and climate benefits, but they are more colorful and flavorsome.”

Other key results from PBHP’s study include that 41 percent of those surveyed would support the replacement of dairy milk and yogurts with plant-based alternatives and that 30 percent agreed that processed meats like ham and bacon should not be served to patients.

Perhaps most notably, 32 percent would be interested in trying an entirely plant-based meal themselves, with 31 percent of participants having actively reduced their meat consumption at home over the last two years.

“There is certainly an appetite to see change,” added Kassam.

Read more: Hospitals In England Serving Meat Products Thought To Cause Cancer, Report Finds

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