THE food served to patients at Bradford Royal Infirmary comes under fire today, in new official ‘league tables’.

The hospital scores only 77.61 per cent for the quality of the meals on its wards – putting it a lowly 1,177 out of the 1,257 hospitals ranked from across England.

It trails far behind Airedale General Hospital (90.86 per cent) as well as smaller hospitals including St Luke’s Hospital (88.94 per cent), Eccleshill Community (99.4 per cent) and Westwood Park (98.91 per cent).

But Bradford Royal Infirmary is ranked higher for the choice of food on offer (85.19 per cent) – putting it ahead of Airedale General (83.09 per cent).

And all the district’s hospitals pass two further tests – whether they serve fruit every time and that their menus have been given the all clear by dieticians.

At the same time, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that hospitals must now abide by new compulsory food standards, to drive up the quality of their meals.

Any that do not follow the rules would be in breach of their “commissioning contract” – leaving themselves open to action by the health regulator.

Mr Hunt said: “Many hospitals are already offering excellent food to their patients and staff.

“But we want to know that all patients have nourishing and appetising food to help them get well faster and stay healthy.”

The league tables, published on the NHS Choices website, follow inspections by teams of patients, nurses and carers, between March and June.

Experts are concerned that, when a patient is malnourished, it makes recovery more difficult, increases length of stay and can lead to pressure sores and infections.