HCA’s Glorious Forum in the Glen 2024

The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) Leadership and Development Forum 2024 was held at the Macdonald’s Resort, Aviemore in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

Distance did not put off more than 350 delegates and exhibitors attending, what was considered an overwhelmingly success Forum.

The Forum was facilitated by TV Journalist, Rachel McTavish and included a range of speakers covering all aspects that affect the hospital caterer as they strive to deliver a first-class patient experience in healthcare establishments, large and small, across the 4 Nations of the UK.

After the opening ceremony, Professor David Foskett OBE reminded everyone that the catering teams are all part of the wider hospitality industry and that we should help every staff member to value their importance in the NHS – without facilities staff like the catering staff and their colleagues at ward level, the hospital would cease to function very quickly.

Dr Hans Hartung (pictured above), a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine and Staff Wellbeing & Support Clinical Lead at NHS Ayrshire & Arran Trust led a session focussing on staff wellbeing, focussing on the physical, emotional and mental health of the whole catering team. This session acted as a foundation for a workshop later in the day, which was extremely well attended.

Angela Tregear, Professor of Marketing at the University of Edinburgh Business School, and Tim Radcliffe, HCA Board Director and Net Zero Programme Manager at NHS England, contributed to a session focusing on how we need to manage our carbon footprint to meet the overall NHS commitment. This session also led to another very well attended workshop, where delegates were able to share their own experiences and listen to other ideas and practices proving successful elsewhere.

Later that evening the HCA Awards were the high point of the Presidents Dinner, where National Secretary, and Forum Secretary, Janice Gillan was presented with the Wilma Wilkie Outstanding Service Award. There were also Special Contribution Awards for Karoline Rowlands, North Bristol NHS Trust and Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, who is standing down as the Association’s President at the upcoming AGM.

Day two opened with the focus on nutrition and an interesting presentation on ‘how to get people to understand better nutrition’. Jenna Mossimann and David Titman from the specialist social enterprise, RaisingNutrition Ltd, believe that an integrated approach to food – combining nutrition science, culinary arts and health psychology – is needed if caterers are to support health and wellbeing.

Northern Ireland’s hospitals have introduced a Food Safety Pause programme, designed to encourage catering staff to engage with the patients they’re serving and to identify any concerns before the food is served. Gill Murphy, Deputy Director of Nursing for the Northern Health & Social Care Trust talked about the way the scheme works and how it can be introduced into other hospitals. Gill is also passionate about leading the contribution of nurses in improving outcomes for users of our healthcare services.

The Forum was proud to welcome Mairi Gougeon, MSP Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform & Islands, Scottish Government for the keynote speech, ‘The Good Food Nations Plan’. She talked about the Good Food Nation Act 2022, which laid out Scotland’s vision for a nation who take pride and pleasure in, as well as benefit from the food they produce, cook and serve. Ms Gougeon is responsible for changing the Act into an action plan and she explained how this will help benefit NHS Scotland and hopefully encourage the other nations to follow suit.

The keynote speech was then followed by a panel session with representatives from each of the four nation’s Procurement Services. Later in the day, there was an entertaining talk from Billy Cunningham who has over 25 years NHS experience as both head of catering and a service improvement consultant. He looked back over the past 100 years of catering within hospitals before discussing the recent developments and national reviews. He welcomed NHS England’s Review of Hospital Food and the subsequent expert panels, who are clearly driving improvements in all aspects of NHS catering. This led to a lively debate with the audience keen to share their opinions too.

This was an ideal forum to air these views about modern developments as alongside the forum nearly 80 exhibitors promoted their products and services to delegates over the two days.

Following feedback from the two workshop sessions that were held the previous day, the delegates were treated to an interview by facilitator, Rachel McTavish with Scottish Rugby legend, Kenny Logan before Stewart McKenzie, Vice President brought the Forum to a close and the outgoing National Chair, Brian Robb passed on the chain of office to the incoming National Chair, Iain Robertson.

Click here to view all the images from the whole event or type https://hcaforum.co.uk/9/gallery into your address bar to see details of the speakers, exhibitors and details of the 2025 Form that will be held at the Hilton Metropole Birmingham 1 – 2 April

Site Sponsors