"LEAGUE tables" judging the food given to hospital patients have shown the quality of meals varies significantly across the area.

Hospitals in North Yorkshire and the East Riding have been given between 100 and 74 per cent by inspectors for food quality, with Bootham Park Hospital being rated among the best, and York and Scarborough Hospitals among the worst.

However, all hospitals say their menus have been checked by a dietician and all say fresh fruit is always available.

The statistics have been released as it was announced the NHS will have mandatory food standards and hospitals will be ranked on food quality as part of a wide-ranging drive to raise standards of hospital food.

Professor Edward Baker, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said: “It’s really important for patients to have access to good quality food based on their own needs. During our inspections, we speak to patients and check records to ensure patients are receiving the right food for their individual needs. Our findings determine which hospitals need closer inspection of their food practices.”

Among the top rated, was Bootham Park Hospital which had a quality rating of 100 per cent and level of choice rated at 87 per cent and Nuffield Health York Hospital with a quality rating of 100 per cent and choice rates at about 95 per cent.

In the middle of the table was Harrogate District Hospital at a quality rating of 94.57 per cent, Friarage Hospital in Northallerton at 88.27 per cent, Castel Hill Hospital in the East Riding at 83.93 per cent, and Lime Trees at 98.65 per cent.

Also mid-table was St Monica's in Easingwold at 96.90 per cent, Malton Hospital at 96.60 per cent, and the New Selby War Memorial Hospital at 90.94 per cent.

At the bottom of the table was York Hospital with 79.35 per cent quality, Scarborough at 74.27 per cent, Bridlington Hospital at 87.76 per cent and Hull Royal Infirmary with 84.38 per cent.

But the quality of food was not necessarily reflected in the price - Malton and Norton Hospital spent the most of patients food per day at £17.21 and York Hospital at £11.90 and among the least amount spent per patient was the New Selby War Memorial Hospital at £5.79 and Bootham Hospital at £6.53.