Political Correspondent

GLASGOW hospitals spend the least per patient on food in Scotland according to official figures.

The health board spends £76 per person per week on food for patients.

The Scottish average is £90 and the highest in the mainland is £108 per week in Dumfries and Galloway.

In Glasgow hospitals cater for the largest number of patients and the health board said economies of scale mean costs can be kept lower.

It is not surprising that the health boards with the highest costs per patient are the smaller boards with fewer patients and which are in the most remote parts of the country.

In Shetland the cost hits £240 per week and in Orkney the cost per patient is £139. And in the Western Isles it is £117.

The Scottish Conservatives however were concerned about the variation in costs and believe a lower quality is being offered to some patients.

Brian Whittle, health education spokesman for the Tories said: “It’s absolutely vital that hospital food is healthy, of good quality and appetising.

“If we can’t look to our NHS to do that, who can we expect to lead the way on this?”

He said while there are reasons or the islands to spend more he was concerned that Glasgow spent considerably less than Edinburgh.

He added: “The disparity in spending between health boards is extremely concerning.

“You would expect island health boards to have a far higher spend because of transportation issues, and everyone accepts that.

“However, it’s less clear why patients in Glasgow receive nearly £30 less per head every week than those in Edinburgh and other health boards.

“This data clearly points to a lower quality of meal in some parts of the country, and the Scottish Government needs to intervene to ensure there is more quality across the board.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We know how important a nutritious diet is to our patients and are able to deliver our broad and varied menus as we benefit from highly competitive national contracts for food produce.

“When bulk buying on the scale we do significant opportunities are created to achieve real value for money and all our patient food is produced from our own in house Central Food Production Units.”