The call last week by Lord Hunt for hospital catering to be given more funding, better training and a review of pay grades has been warmly welcomed by Brian Robb, chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA).
The remarks by Lord Hunt came when he spoke in the House of Lords in support of an amendment to the Health & Care Bill.
Brian Robb said: “We’re delighted the amendment that the HCA helped draft, got into the debate.
“The key point Lord Hunt addressed in terms of funding is very much to the point and we have long campaigned for catering budgets to be ringfenced to save them from cuts when efficiencies are being demanded.
“And we definitely need the training schools to be reopened. We think that everyone – from management level right the way down - to receive appropriate training to ensure the initiatives set out by Governments and the National Food Strategy get the appropriate support.
“Pay also needs to be seriously addressed quickly, as there are issues related to Band 2 and-3 for cooks, and this is particularly the case in England.
“This is a nonsense considering the staff shortages in the hospitality market generally. It means that in the NHS we can’t currently compete with the commercial side of things and we need a pay structure that’s addresses that issue.”
He added that following the tabling of the HCA-sponsored amendment the parliamentary under-secretary of state for technology, innovation and life sciences at the Department of Health and Social Care had issued an invitation to a meeting ‘within the next two weeks’ with him to discuss the issues further.
Joining Robb and Lord Hunt, president of the HCA, at the meeting will be Sue Cawthray, chair of the National Association of Care Catering and Baroness Barker, president of the NACC.
And looking forward to the HCA Leadership & Developement Forum in Liverpool from March 30-31, when Lord Hunt will be delivering the keynote address, Robb said: “I’m delighted he will delivering our keynote address and I can’t wait.
“He brings a wealth of experience within the health sector and has been a key leader as our president during his term of office.”
For more information about the forum and to book a delegate place visit: https://hcaforum.co.uk