HCA Awards 2023

The Hospital Caterers Association revealed their prestigious annual awards at the President’s Dinner, which forms part of the 2023 National Leadership & Development Forum.

The awards publicly acknowledge exceptional commitment and outstanding contributions from our members who have been nominated for demonstrating excellence and innovation in the chosen category over the past 12 months. The judging panel consisted of the President the Rt Hon Lord Hunt of Kings Heath PC OBE, Vice Presidents Mark Hayman, Alison McCree with National Chairman Brian Robb. The panel were impressed with the calibre of applications that we agreed that the other finalists would also be presented with certificates as follows:

Caterer of the Year 2023, sponsored by Hobart UK

The criteria for this Award is that it is presented in recognition and celebration of the significant contribution the Member has made to the wellbeing and recovery of the patient, the patient experience and to the staff and visitors who use their services.


Andrea Raymond, Operations Manager- Catering Services Northamptonshire Healthcare, Danetre Hospital (Oxford Branch)

Andrea is a hardworking and very diligent Catering Manager, she runs seven community hospitals from Brackley to Corby, where she has achieved an impressive series of quality improvements for patients and staff, with improvements in the patient food provision of new meals & menus, standard recipes and photographic specification on how each meal should be served. She is constantly reviewing services, which included 2 major projects started in 2022, completed in March 2023, including MenuMark electronic stock system with patient meal ordering to be installed at all 7 hospital sites. Other initiatives Andrea has introduced include offering a free KitKat to remind staff to “Take a break” for 3 months when a purchase was made in the café and a “Free Fruit Friday” offering in all café sites in collaboration with the Wellbeing Team.


David Smyth, Catering Production Manager, Antrim Area Hospital - Northern Health and Social Care Trust

Robert Wright, Catering and Domestic Services Manager, Northern Health & Social Care Trust

Matthew McCullough, Interim Community Support Services Catering Manager, Holywell Hospital, Antrim

Duncan O’Neill, Catering Manager, Stepping Hill Hospital,

Iain Clarke, Deputy Trust Catering Manager, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals

Catering Team of the Year 2023

The criterion for this Award is a Catering Service Team providing patient services to an NHS Trust, where one person must be a full member of the Association, and indicate what the team has achieved during the past 12 months in Effective Teamwork and Collaboration, Personal and Professional Development of Team Members and Delivering High-Quality Catering.


Stuart Wray, Head of Catering, Darlington Memorial Hospital (Northern Branch)

The Catering team at Darlington Memorial Hospital service is led by Stuart Wray, whom with the support of his highly effective and competent team constantly deliver year on year improvements.

The Catering Team are a high performing team committed to producing and serving safe, appetising, nourishing, and well-balanced meals and beverages, which are full of flavour to our patients, staff and visitors.

Every one of the Catering Team are committed to the service principles, which they have played a part in developing, which include:

  • Meet and exceed patients and customers’ expectations
  • Deliver high quality services within the agreed financial framework
  • Involve patients and customers in shaping service delivery
  • Constantly strive to improve defined quality standards
  • Improve efficiency in all areas of activities
  • Provide staff with effective and professional leadership
  • Recognise and respect individuals’ contribution to the delivery of the services.

In recognition of the standards of service the Catering Department was named as one of the original 15 exemplar sites across England in 2021 as part of the NHS Food review. The Catering Service has made a significant contribution to the new food standards and have shared templates and matrices to other NHS organisations to help them undertake a gap analysis against the standards, which was well received by the service.


David Smyth, Catering Production Manager, Antrim Area Hospital - Northern Health and Social Care Trust

Duncan O'Neil/Stephen Whitehead, Support Services Manager Catering/Head of Facilities, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Stepping Hill Hospital

DSFS Patient Catering Team, DSFS/Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust, Chesterfield

Elaine Pringle, Catering Service Lead, Ulster Hospital

Salford Royal Retail Team - Forty, Salford Royal Retail Team - Forty-Eight Bakehouse - Deli and Dine

Efficiency & Improvement Award, sponsored by Hefma

This award is for Members/NHS Trusts/Board/HCA Branches to put forward nominations that prove how they introduced a new idea, or 24/7 365 development which helped to improve catering service to patients or retail, which delivered service improvement and improved efficiency and productivity.


Karen McLaughlin, General Manager for Catering and Domestic Services Trust wide, Northern Trust (Northern Ireland Branch)

Karen was instrumental in introducing the safety pause, which identifies shared responsibility between those preparing and serving the meals and those responsible for the patients' care. The safety pause brings swallowing and allergens to the forefront of everyone's mind, just before the service of all food or beverages. RQIA (Northern Ireland's equivalent of CQC) recognised this when they were doing a regional audit of management of those with swallowing difficulties and saw how beneficial it was to patient safety. They have now made it one of the recommendations they issued as result of their audit, so ensuring the safety of all patients in Northern Ireland.


Howard Cartledge/Louise Simpson, Head of Catering / Associate Director of Nursing, Estates, Facilities & Capital Development, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

Duncan O’Neill, Catering Manager, Stepping Hill Hospita

Michelle O Connor, Catering Manager, Altnagevin Hospital Glenshane Road Derry

Marcel Dueren, Catering Central Production Manager, St. Thomas' Hospital

Trade Stand, Sponsored by HCA


Romco UK Ltd

Special Contribution Award, sponsored by HCA

This Award is awarded to a person or organisation which although not directly involved in providing catering services to the industry, have performed a role that has had a significant influence on the provision of services in one or more areas of the catering sector, and chosen by the judging panel.


Mark Hayman

Mark has been a member for over 45 years and held many Branch and National positions such as National Chair, National Secretary and, for the past 12 years, National Vice-President Position.

He retired from NHS in December 2016, after an illustrious 40-year career starting in 1976 in catering, reaching the position of an Estates Director in the Kent Healthcare system, and over the years Procurement functions was included Deputy Director of Facilities and Head of Contracting and Purchasing for West Kent Shared Services. Further roles then ensued working on business cases for “collaborative procurement hubs” and then very quickly became involved in roles which brought him into contact with healthcare commissioning procurement as Primary Care Trusts took up the mantle of “World Class Commissioning” to drive improvements within the provider landscape.

The Hospital Catering Association is extremely fortunate to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Mark Hayman as our Vice–President. He has provided leadership and support throughout many National Chairs’ terms, and latterly as they went through the change to company status.

National – Rising Star Award, sponsored by HCA

This new award is for a full member who, in the course of his or her work has shown impressive dedication and commitment to furthering themselves and supporting the work of Hospital Catering who demonstrates Association values and shows outstanding dedication and commitment.


Kush Naik, Senior Catering Dietitian, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, (Trent Branch)

She displays all the values expected of a service leader in waiting, where Trust Proud behaviours at the forefront of how play our part - Patient First, Respect, Ownership, Unity and Delivery. She has great enthusiasm for all things food, extending her remit to get involved with all Catering projects and services. Kush is a very engaging individual and has an easy style, a free speaker which draws in colleagues. A good listener, Kush can draw upon concepts and grow them into practical solutions.

Generous of nature and spirit, Kush has glowing inner radiance and is very caring. She is captivating and has a genuine passion and interest in what she does. So much so, people feed off her enthusiasm.


Amanda Vickery, Catering Business Support Officer / Assistant Facilities Manager, Musgrove Park Hospital TA1 5DA

Shirley Allison, Catering/Domestic Services Manager, Holywell Hospital

Margaret Valenti, Catering Business Support Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Shelley Pearson Smith, Assistant Head Chef, Stockport NHSFT Stepping Hill Hospital

National – Leadership & Excellence Award, sponsored by HCA

This award is for a Full member who demonstrates exceptional leadership skills and who excels at mentoring and teaching and shares their knowledge and expertise with students, junior members of staff and/or colleagues, encouraging and motivating them to reach their full potential.


Clodagh Hastings, Assistant Support Service Manager, Gransha Hospital, Western Trust (Northern Ireland Branch)

Clodagh is selfless to a fault, and goes above and beyond to ensure that staff, service users. She works hard and the dedication she puts into her career is amazing. She is unaware of her own worth but commands a level of respect from her teammates. Clodagh may have one of the most stressful jobs on the site, but she masks it so that she can keep her own team motivated.


Linda Saunders, Assistant Manager Corporate Support Services, Whiteabbey Hospital, Moyle Hospital and Carrickfergus and Larne Community Domestic Team

Karoline Rowlands, Facilities Manager, Southmead Hospital

Kevin Westrip, General Manager, NH Foundation Trust 

Chairman’s Choice, sponsored by HCA

The Chairman’s Choice is awarded to the Branch that can demonstrate that during the past 12 months their minutes of meetings and treasurers accounts are submitted, they hold regular Branch meetings, have education, training and social events and undertake recruitment and retention of Members. Brian advised it was extremely difficult to choose which Branch should be the winner – there were a number of really strong applications, with educational and training at the heart of the branch programmes, with excellent membership engagement. Speaking about the award, National Chair, Brian Robb said “I decided that it came down to a Branch that had really looked at the membership and how could they be supported.”


West of Scotland Branch

In 2022/23 the branch recognised its role in supporting and linking members throughout the pandemic with combat rural settings, virtual meetings, branch Study Day and Burns supper having to be postponed, and held 2023, where it was back to being a bigger and better event. A number of members are involved in Association working groups.


Oxford Branch

South West Branch

Wilma Wilkie Outstanding Service Award 2023, sponsored by HCA

The criteria for this Award are that the member has given many years of dedicated service to the NHS, had a number of achievements and has demonstrated their significant contribution to the association locally or nationally. This is the Association most prestigious award.


Carol Birch, Associate Director of Facilities, (Northern Branch)

Carol’s career has spanned over 4 decades, joined the NHS in 1983 as an Assistant Cook and has progressed to their current position as the Associate Director of Facilities. She has been a member for over 25 years, held branch, national and Conference roles.

Carol’s personal traits include clear, decisive, compassionate and inclusive leadership. Carol consistently demonstrates initiative, and has a good sense of humour, outgoing and fun to work with, approachable and confident.

During her career, Carol has gained extensive experience of managing not only NHS Catering Services but the whole range of Estates and Facilities services at both an operational and strategic level in her senior management roles including her current position as Associate Director of Facilities. Carol always demonstrates that she has a good grasp of the existing methods of delivery but is not being afraid of suggesting the unthinkable, with the aim of improving services. A further quality Carol has in abundance is her tenacity to address difficult challenges, which many others would turn away from and more importantly, Carol is always willing to share the learning from those experiences, be it good or bad. Carol’s relevant and present-day knowledge and experience gained from working within the NHS along with her passion, integrity, personal commitment and tenacity is of great benefit to the ongoing success of the services she leads, the HCA and the wider NHS.

The role Carol played in winning a bid against other private sector providers in a recent market testing situation was outstanding and demonstrates her commitment, tenacity and standard of work. Even though Carol is her fourth decade of working life she still has the energy and motivation to deliver service change with the passion and commitment often only seen in those newly appointed in their roles and keen to make a difference/improvement.

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