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Hospital caterers rewarded for excellence

Last week, (April 12), the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) announced the winners of its national awards to more than 300 industry guests during the President's dinner at its annual Leadership and Development Forum. 


The prestigious event took place at the Celtic Manor, Newport to celebrate 70 years of the association, which coincides with the NHS’s 70th anniversary. The awards acknowledge exceptional commitment and outstanding contributions from HCA members over the past 12 months. All finalists have been originally nominated for demonstrating excellence in the chosen categories. 


The judging panel consisted of HCA President, The Rt Hon Lord Hunt of Kings Heath PC OBE, Vice Presidents Mike Hall and Mark Hayman, and National Chairman Stewart McKenzie. The judges were very impressed with the calibre of applications and this year a certificate was presented to all finalists. 


The first award of the night, Caterer of the Year, sponsored by Hobart UK honoured Chris Neale, Head of Catering at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust. Earlier in the week Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, visited Neale to see for himself the work being done by this catering team. 


Ashworth commended Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust by saying: 

“This is exactly the sort of in-house, high quality service offering nutritional meals to a high standard that I believe is integral to the future of the NHS and one I want to see developed across the service as Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary.” 


The Caterer Service of the Year, sponsored by Premier Foods was presented to Emma Wilson and Liz Hawkshaw from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the Wilma Wilkie Outstanding Service Award was given to Paul Birch of the Northern Branch for his many years of service in healthcare catering and Spearmark Health, developers of the innovative Droplet® cup and tumbler system to promote hydration won the trade stand award. 


The Wessex Branch was presented with the Chairman's Choice award, which is given to the HCA Branch that has demonstrated outstanding commitment and contribution over the past 12 months. 


Stewart McKenzie, National Chairman comments: “I am delighted by the record number of entries for the HCA Awards this year. This proves the calibre of NHS catering currently. We commend the hard work, dedication and compassion of our members. Many congratulations to all of the winners and finalists.” 


This year, two new awards, Nutrition and Hydration 24/7 365 Poster and a Practical Class, promoting culinary talent 2018 (decorated cake) were judged during the Forum exhibition. Jane Willis and Anna Warman from Somerset Partnership NHS Partnership Trust won the poster award for ‘Promoting our service – day and night’ and Nicola Strawther from Nottingham University Trust, and Helen Westwood from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals were joint award recipients for their beautifully decorated cakes. 


Additional special awards were given to Richard Dyson, Michael Hawkes and Mike Hall for their commitment and contributions to the HCA. 


Other finalists: 


Caterer of the Year 

• Lynne Allner, Catering Manager, Alderney Hospital, Poole 

• Stella Gardner, Catering Services Manager, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust • Geoffrey Moyle, Trust Catering Manager, Freeman Hospital, Freeman Road, High Heaton, Newcastle 


Caterer Service of the Year 

• Heart of England NHS Trust 

• Darlington Memorial Hospital 

• Serco at Barts Health NHS Trust 


Nutrition & Hydration 365 24/7 Poster Award

• ‘Grown in Nottingham’ by Nicola Strawther, Nottingham University Trust 

• ‘At the Frontline of patient care’ by Saachi Patel, Serco, Barts Health NHS Trust 

• ‘Together, we make a difference’ by Phil Shelley, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust 

• ‘Keeping calm in the English Riviera’ by Ian Armstrong, Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust 

• ‘The Vu- Herb Garden’ by Gary Wilkins, North Bristol NHS Trust 


Chairman’s Choice

• London & South East 

• Northern Ireland 

• South West 

• Trent 


Wilma Wilkie Outstanding Service Award 

• Mike Pearson, South West Branch 

• Andy Jones, West Midlands Branch