Northern Branch News

From Tony Wealleans

Following our summer break, our September Branch meeting was held at the prestigious Emirates Riverside Cricket Ground at Chester-le-Street. The meeting was very kindly organised and sponsored by Scott Hayward, Regional Sales Manager – North at FRIMA UK, and was well attended by 19 Members and two guests from NHS Supply Chain.

As always, our Members joined in with the discussions regarding our standard agenda items but the following items were discussed at length:

  • submitting at least one team from the Northern Branch to represent us in the Hot Cookery Competition to be held at Hotelympia 2018;
  • Council meeting feedback from 11 July meeting; nominations for HCA Vice President. The Branch agreed to submit two people from the Branch who they considered to fulfil the criteria and who had worked very hard over the years to promote all that is good within hospital catering, and
  • the Branch’s fundraising event for next year’s Forum charity, the Alex Lewis Trust.

The meeting ended with a demonstration of the versatility of the FRIMA VarioCooking Center. Scott Hayward showed Members how this piece of equipment could potentially save us time, money and effort when producing food for patients, staff and visitors.

We would like to thank Scott and FRIMA UK for supporting the Northern Branch and providing the venue, food and hospitality.

For our October Branch meeting we gathered in Scarborough to visit the McCain Factory. This venue was kindly organised by Mark Lezemore (NHS Supply Chain) and Mark Standish (McCain). It was a bit of a journey for everybody to get to Scarborough but nevertheless worthwhile.

The meeting was well supported as usual and the agenda item that promoted the greatest interest was ‘wholly owned subsidiary companies’. This topic took over the majority of the meeting because several of our Members have been, and some will be, effected by this new way of operating within our Trusts. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of operating as a separate company and also the perceived difficulties in managing a workforce with two different sets of terms and conditions.

Lunch and refreshments were kindly provided for Members before we were given a very informative guided tour of the facility. We were all very impressed at the size and efficiency of the facility, especially when you consider they operate 24 hours a day, processing approximately 24 tonnes of potatoes per hour (we will never take that humble chip for granted again).

Overall it was an excellent day and our thanks go to Mark Lezemore and Mark Standish for organising the venue, food and hospitality.

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