Hospitals in England will be expected to provide a higher standard of food, with new standards, enforced through legally-binding NHS contracts, focusing on quality, choice and promoting a healthy diet for patients and staff.

The move has been welcomed by Peninsula Community Health, the community interest company which provides community-based health services and is responsible for running the 13 community hospitals throughout the county.

Saying it is already leading the way in hospital nutrition and claiming to be the first health care organisation in the UK to create a hydration lead nurse and now has a 'nutrition and hydration group'.

Naomi Campbell, hydration lead nurse, said: “We remain fully committed to improving the provision of basic hydration care and nutrition for all of our patients. We have already worked hard to not only improve perceived patient satisfaction of food, but to improve nutrition and hydration of patients generally.

“Over the past year we have started to introduce the choice of cooked breakfasts three times a week, a prepared fresh fruit plate every day and fresh cakes to increase the nutritional uptake of our patients. Our kitchens make up fresh salads and sandwiches and patients are also encouraged to ask for any additional snacks 24/7.

“To ensure patients can enjoy choosing their food we have new colourful easy to view photographic menus and have promoted the importance of protected mealtimes so patients are given the time and attention they require to eat their meals.”

Naomi added: “Hydration and nutrition is vitally important for everyone but especially to those receiving care in hospitals. We welcome the announcement by the health secretary so patients around the Country can benefit from the best practice that is already being implemented in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."