THE quality of hospital food, the cleanliness of wards and the privacy and dignity of patients at the county’s hospitals are to be put under the microscope – by members of the public.

New teams made up of local people will carry out spot checks as part of a government initiative to drive improvements.

The teams will carry out unannounced assessments and their findings will be published.

The only problem in Herefordshire is that those organising the visits need more volunteers – who, as well as commenting on the general cleanliness, will also have to sample and pass judgement on hospital food.

Michelle Clarke, director of nursing and quality at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said inspections will begin soon, although no date can be given as they are unannounced.

“Guidance will be given to the assessors – they are not there to comment on the quality of clinical or medical treatment, but are there to gain a general impression of the hospital,”

added Michelle.

Anyone interested in becoming an assessor can call 01432 364005.