The Northern Ireland Branch held its annual seminar on 11 September at La Mon Hotel, Belfast. The seminar, entitled Food is Treatment Supporting Clinical Need, attracted more than 80 delegates comprising catering managers and supervisors, nursing staff, school meals staff and speech and language professionals. The accompanying exhibition had 24 stands showcasing products and services.
We were honoured to have Alison McCree, National Vice-President, as our keynote speaker. All presentations focused on collaboration and demonstrated how collaboration has, and can, improve patient experiences. Alison shared the background to The Perfect Meal; we heard from Ann Hayes, a service user who sits on the Clinical Nutrition Committee in South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust; from Pauline Mulholland MBE, Lead Dietitian, who shared how caterers and dietitians have worked together over the years to improve patients’ nutrition; from Dr Naomi Baldwin, who described Mealtime Matters, an initiative where nursing and catering have worked together to improve patient mealtimes; from Tony O’Hara, Senior Manager Patient Experience; from Clare Stevenson, Speech and Language Dysphagia Lead and Fiona Hillen, Dietetics Dysphagia Lead, who told us about their joint project creating texture-modified menus and recipe cards for residents of residential homes and day centres; and from Robert Lamont, Environmental Health Manager for Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, who informed us about upcoming amendments to allergen legislation, reminding us about our responsibilities and explaining how Councils can work with catering managers and support us in ensuring we provide safe food for our patients and customers and scaring us all enough to keep us on our toes. This all created an inspirational and informative day for all.