Hospital food so bad it makes patients sicker
One in four patients admitted to Irish hospitals is malnourished and many lose even more weight during their stay because of the poor quality of the food on offer.
Patient safety watchdog the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) will carry out unannounced inspections of 13 public hospitals to examine meals served to patients.
Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn said many patients' recovery from illness was being set back further because they lose more weight in hospital.
The Irish Independent has spoken to a number of cystic fibrosis patients who have told how they are spending €100 a week bringing extra food into hospital because they are not happy that their dietary requirements are being met.
One patient, Lydia Daly (22), from Portmarnock, Dublin, said she had to wait 16 hours overnight between dinner and breakfast and was served "shrivelled-up broccoli".
Just one in 10 hospitals are routinely screening patients for malnutrition, leaving thousands at risk of slipping through the net.
Mr Quinn said malnutrition was a particular risk for elderly patients, people with cancer and those who had undergone surgery.