Chairman's message

Welcome to the Hospital Caterers Association website.

As the NHS approaches its 70th anniversary in 2018, the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) is looking forward to celebrating its coinciding milestone, having been founded in 1948 shortly after the NHS was born.

The HCA is a national organisation which represents healthcare catering managers who provide a wide range of food services for patients, visitors and staff in NHS hospitals and healthcare facilities across the UK. A substantial proportion of the HCA’s membership is also actively involved in managing a range of other non-clinical support services.

With 15 branches throughout the four nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and more than 250 hospitals represented in its membership, the HCA network is the single largest group of healthcare catering providers within the NHS.

Its mission is to promote, develop and improve the standards of catering in hospitals and healthcare establishments; educate and train people working in healthcare catering services, and improve the professional interests and status of healthcare catering practitioners.

Over the last few years the HCA has sought greater collaboration between caterers, nurses and dietitians as part of its ‘Power of 3’ campaign, in addition to working closer with other public sector catering organisations and industry trade bodies.

Further important HCA campaigns include its ‘Last 9 Yards’ initiative, as well as its 365-day nutrition and hydration awareness campaign, which launched earlier this year (2017).

The HCA believes a multi-disciplinary approach is pivotal in ensuring a patient is at the heart of hospital services. It provides training to members to deliver a more inclusive patient-centred and safe catering service within the NHS, at the best possible price.

In 2016, the association entered a partnership with NHS England to improve the quality of food served in NHS establishments, including the retail offerings, promoting and providing healthy food options for patients, visitors and as importantly, NHS staff.

The NHS will continue to face significant challenges in the years ahead, as it has done throughout its history, but the HCA and its members will work hard to promote and share best practice to ensure it is best-placed to respond to whatever obstacles it encounters along the way.

Every year the HCA holds its National Leadership & Development Forum and Exhibition – a calendar highlight for members. Next year, as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations it will take place at the Celtic Manor in Wales. The theme ‘Delivering Today, Enhancing Tomorrow’ is a stark reminder of how the association strives to deliver an exceptional service every day of the year, while continuing to seek ways of improving that service.

Branch activities take place throughout the year, including formal meetings, seminars and study days with guest speakers, supplier demonstrations, exhibitions and social events. The HCA also marks and partakes in national and international events such as Hotelympia and other cookery competitions.

HCA membership delivers many values and benefits. There are several grades of membership and a patronage scheme available. From caterers’ menus and ingredients, to dietitians safeguarding nutritional content, to the final ward end delivery supported via the nursing teams, through working together, we can deliver excellence to each and every patient.

Our recently updated website contains lots of information about what we as an organisation do within the sector and how we're raising the profile and professionalism of our members to drive and improve the quality of hospital catering. It has been designed for ease of use and as a resource to share information.

We welcome your input and any feedback.

National Chairman
Stewart McKenzie

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