New plans by health minister Andy Burnham call for budget cuts if patients complain of the quality of food served in hospitals.
"Sometimes hospitals are missing the point," said Mr Burnham. "How you are spoken to, how you are dealt with, whether you are treated in a friendly way — these things can be as important as your medical care."
The talk is about reforms in the NHS and Mr Burnham is keen to link performance to funding. He added that the idea was about "measuring what was truly important ... all of the softer things that contribute to the patient experience, not just hard and fast data."
He also expressed a desire to clean up the "like it or lump it" culture in the NHS.