The Health Secretary appeared in a 71-second video filmed during his visit to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading following an independent review into meals provided to patients.
But the clip – shared to Mr Hancock’s Twitter account – sparked outrage after viewers noticed he was not wearing a face covering, a clear breach of the Government’s own rules.
Guidance states that face coverings ‘are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries’.
Critics have slammed the clip, claiming the Health Secretary should ‘be setting an example’ by wearing a mask when necessary.
It is the second time in seven days that Mr Hancock has not worn a mask when he was supposed to.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of breaking the Government’s Covid-19 rules after he went mask-free inside an NHS hospital (pictured)
It happened despite Boris Johnson ordering his ministers to wear masks in the back of official cars last month – even though chauffeur-driven passengers are exempt from wearing them.
In the clip shared today, Mr Hancock thanks Great British Bake Off Prue Leith, one of the advisers on the review which sets out a series of recommendations for safer and more nutritious meals.
He added: ‘I have come to the Royal Berkshire Hospital here in Reading to launch the review into hospital food that has been headed up by Prue Leith along with a brilliant professional team.
The Health Secretary appeared in a 71-second video filmed during his visit to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading following an independent review into meals provided to patients
It is the second time in seven days that Mr Hancock has not worn a mask when he was supposed to. On October 19, Mr Hancock received a telling off from Number 10 after riding in his chauffeur-driven ministerial a without a face covering
‘There are some hospitals like this one where the food is nutritious and is really tasty.
‘And we want that to be the norm right across the country. So the recommendations of the review we are accepting and we’re going to take forward to make sure that food is part of your recovery when you’re in hospital and is something that you can really look forward to.’
He added: ‘We’re building 40 new hospitals and those new hospitals will have first-class catering built into them. And one of them is of course this hospital, The Royal Berkshire here in Reading.
‘So we’re going to make sure that hospital food is part of people’s recovery and I am incredibly grateful to Prue Leith and her whole team for helping to get us this far.
A Health Department source said Mr Hancock was socially distanced during filming and had a mask on for the rest of his hospital visit (pictured)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock (right), with Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith during their hospital visit today
A Labour spokesperson told The Mirror: ‘Matt Hancock should be setting an example by wearing face coverings in the NHS.
‘This is a pandemic, not a PR stunt.’
A Health Department source said Mr Hancock was socially distanced during filming and had a mask on for the rest of his hospital visit.
Viewers took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
Paul Fowler wrote: ‘Matt Hancock is under fire for filming video at a hospital without wearing a mask. Time after time, Hancock does a superb impersonation of a halfwit.’
Rebecca Mendoza said: ‘Shouldn’t you be wearing a mask in a hospital? Come on Matt.’
Speaking during their trip to the hospital today, Boris Johnson (pictured serving a meal) said patients on hospital wards should be served hot toast around the clock
Speaking during their trip to the hospital today, Boris Johnson said patients on hospital wards should be served hot toast around the clock.
Ms Leith – one of the advisers on the review – said hospital food can be ‘delicious, nutritious and nicely presented’.
The Prime Minister said: ‘It’s massively important for patients and for staff that they should have hot and nutritious meals available in the wards and across hospitals at all times of the day.’
It was ‘therapeutic, it’s beneficial’ for patients to have good quality food, he said.
Speaking during a visit to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Mr Johnson said that in the 40 new hospitals being constructed or rebuilt ‘there will be kitchens and facilities on the wards so people can get hot toast at all times of the day’.
He was joined on the visit by Leith, who reportedly quit the Conservative Party this month after the Government rejected a bid to force trade deals to meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.
Mr Johnson holds up a roll in the canteen during a visit to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading
Digital menus and upgraded kitchens providing a 24/7 service are among recommendations in an independent review published on Monday.
The review was launched following a deadly outbreak of listeriosis in hospitals last year linked to pre-packaged sandwiches and salads.
The panel of advisers, including chef Leith, has set out ways NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals in hospitals.
The Government has said it will establish an expert group of NHS caterers, dietitians and nurses to decide on next steps.
Leith said: ‘The review provides best-in-class examples of how hospitals can serve delicious, nutritious and nicely presented meals on a budget.
‘Food is not only important to health, but to morale. Hospital mealtimes should be a moment of enjoyment and a pleasure to serve. They should inspire staff, patients and visitors to eat well at home.’
Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon Restaurants and independent lead on the National Food Strategy, said hospitals must be a ‘guiding light’ in efforts to ‘get to grips with the slow-motion disaster that is the British diet’.
Recommendations include upgraded kitchens which can cater for a wide range of needs, from new mothers in a maternity ward to patients hungry after a long fast due to surgery, and staff working overnight.
In the clip shared today, Mr Hancock thanks Ms Leith (pictured serving a meal with Mr Hancock and Mr Johnson during today’s visit), one of the advisers on the review which sets out a series of recommendations for safer and more nutritious meals
The Prime Minister has a drink in the canteen during a visit to Royal Berkshire Hospital today
The review also said digital menus and food ordering systems taking into account a patient’s needs could improve communication between dietitians and caterers, reduce food waste and provide patients with the right food for recovery.
An agreed set of national professional standards for NHS chefs with mandatory professional development, including appropriate compulsory food hygiene and allergen training, was also recommended.
The report said increasing the role of nurses, dietitians, caterers and staff wellbeing leads in overseeing food services could help to ensure nutritious meals are part of a patient’s recovery plan.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘Good food is key to good health, so every meal that patients get in hospital should be appetising and nutritious.
‘It’s also right that the NHS continues to play its part in tackling the nation’s obesity crisis by supporting people to eat well.’
A 2018 staff survey showed that 58% of patients rated hospital food as very good or good, and 39 per cent of hospital staff felt food and catering facilities offered in their workplaces were poor, the Department of Health said.