Health and Care Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Leader of the House
Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I shall speak in support of the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, to which I have added my name. I do not really need to say anything more than has already been said. We know that this country, according to the World Obesity Atlas published last week and supported by the World Cancer Research Fund, is now top of the European league table for projected levels of female obesity by 2030 and joint top for projected levels of male obesity. Sadly, it is probably already too late to stem this trend, but by acting now on these measures we might be able to protect the next generation. That is why I support the idea of having a firm deadline by which time the measures will be introduced.

I actually wanted to speak in slightly more detail about Amendments 148, 150 and 152 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Moylan. As he explained, they are really just one amendment.

I promise you that this was not set up, but I have in my hand the very Grenade bar to which the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, referred. I wish to explain why this Grenade bar should definitely not be excluded. I am grateful to Dr Emma Boyland, of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Population Health, for giving me a briefing on the Grenade Carb Killa bar—this particular one is high-protein, low-sugar, white chocolate and salted peanut. I bought it at the weekend from Holland & Barrett, in its health food section; it is marketed and advertised as a healthy product. Is it a healthy product? The answer is no.

First of all, no age group in this country is short of protein. We simply do not need to eat more protein. So the fact that this bar is high-protein is completely irrelevant in terms of health benefits. Secondly, remember that HFSS is high fat, salt and sugar. The bar may be low-sugar, but what about fat? It contains two-thirds of the recommended daily limit of the intake of saturated fat; it is definitely high in fat. It also contains more salt than a bag of salted crisps. Is it right to exclude something that is fatty and salty from the definition of HFSS? I am convinced it is not right, and therefore I completely reject the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Moylan. These products should not be excluded from the measures proposed in Schedule 18 to the Bill.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Portrait Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I have two amendments in this group—Amendments 154 and 155—though they are rather different from those discussed in the debates that we have just heard. I declare my interest as the president of the Hospital Caterers Association.

We have heard a lot about the risk of obesity, but we also know that many patients coming into NHS hospitals come in with nutritional issues, where good food and good nutrition could very much help them on their way to recovery. The research has indicated problems where patients are not feeding properly.

We are very grateful to Ministers for the meeting we had with the Hospital Caterers Association and the National Association of Care Catering, with the noble Baroness, Lady Barker. We are very grateful too that Clause 161 sets out specifications for hospital food standards.

There are just two quick points I want to make. First, it is a great pity that we do not have a similar process in relation to the care sector—care homes, in particular. One of the amendments relates to that: we want to see the provisions extended to the care sector. We also want to ensure that staff working in the care sector are suitably trained and that there is a suitable framework to ensure there is a high level of professional staffing.

My second point relates to the National Health Service. Although lip service has always been paid to good standards of hospital food and nutrition, unfortunately the boards of NHS organisations have often found it difficult to provide the resources to enable that to happen. The suggestion in my first amendment is, in fact, that a board-level director should be appointed to oversee this to ensure that the standards laid out as a result of the Bill, when it becomes law, will be put into practice. Alongside it go similar provisions in relation to ensuring that we have high-quality staff who can take advantage of a focused approach to training, which, at the moment, has been missing because a lot of the national infrastructure for training for staff in the NHS in the ancillary services has been neglected.

I hope that, following the discussions we had with Ministers, the noble Baroness will be able to be positive in relation to this tonight.