THE CRITERIA used by Audrey Morrison (Letters, May 11) to judge the quality of food at Southampton General Hospital (SGH) must be pretty low.

I have just returned home after three weeks in that establishment.

In every other respect, diagnostically, clinically, surgically, medically, nursing and doctors, excellent. But food! Dire is the only word.

I tried many dishes and found none that it was impossible to take more than two mouthfuls. I relied entirely on such food as was brought in for me. By coincidence I discovered that my niece’s husband was in at the same time and he too was dependent on food brought in, unable to eat what was supplied.

Two doctors to whom I expressed my opinion on the quality of the food, agreed it left much to be desired. Numerous nurses also agreed that up to 75 per cent that was dished up was wasted, and my own observations on food returned to the trolley would agree with that.

Surely people who are sick require food that looks appealing, appetising and is palatable, and in my opinion none of these requirements is met. As at present supplied, the food is not conducive to quicker patient recovery time.

During the time the hospital had its own kitchens, there were complaints but at least the food was prepared fresh and not brought in from many miles away as it is now.

To me it beggars belief that an establishment as huge as the SGH is unable to provide a decent kitchen service itself, with decent chefs providing tasteful and appealing meals. Even the microwave Three for £10 meal available at most supermarkets would be a huge improvement on taste and nourishment.

D R SMITH, Southampton.