A DAD told how how his cancer-stricken son and other patients were left with no dinner after staff forgot to feed patients on a ward.

Steven Hildreth claims his son Martin, 38, who was in Southend Hospital for chemotherapy, placed an order for his cooked meal on Monday night, but it never arrived.

Mr Hildreth was staying in the Elizabeth Loury ward, and his father states despite them placing orders three times, the catering staff only came by an hour later to clear away plates.

He said: “They were asked three times what they wanted for dinner. But none came.

“The person from the catering staff arrived an hour later and said ‘have you not had your evening meal yet?’ and the patients said ‘no’.

“This member of staff then said very bluntly ‘hard luck, the food has all gone now, you will have to wait until breakfast tomorrow’.

“The staff member added ‘we are certainly not cooking any more food tonight, the canteen is now closed’.

“They used the excuse that it was NHS cutbacks.”

Mr Hildreth, 68, from Southend, said his son, a father-of-two, had a mug of tea taken away from him too when he had only drunk half of it.

He had called the hospital later that night after his son informed him of what happened.

He claimed the night nursing team was unaware of it, and arranged tea and toast for the patients in the 20-bed ward.

Mr Hildreth added: “It was to their credit that they did this, but it’s not something they should have had to do.

“My son said the whole thing was like an episode of Fawlty Towers.

“If I was in that position, I would have told them I was going out down the road to McDonald’s and they would pay for it.

“But the whole point is hospital patients can’t do that.

“I have to wonder how long and how many times this has happened.

“Some patients may have not spoken up about it.

“For all we know, more wards could have missed their meal that night.

“We don’t know how long that’s been going on for.”

Denise Townsend, director of nursing at Southend Hospital, said: “We can confirm we have received a complaint relating to this patient on Elizabeth Loury ward.

“As the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further.

“We would encourage patients to raise concerns directly with the ward manager who can help resolve issues quickly.”