On Wednesday 9 February 2022, Sue Cawthray, the National Chair of the National Association of Care Catering, and Brian Robb, Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association, met with Lord Kamall, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Technology, Innovation and Life Sciences at the Department of Health and Social Care, to discuss the immediate issues and solutions in health and care catering as important considerations for the Health & Care Bill.
The meeting was also attended by Baroness Barker, Patron of the NACC, Lord Hunt, President of the HCA, Phil Shelley, Senior Operational & Policy Manager NHS Improvement, and David Gibson, Head of NHS Estates & Facilities.
The NACC and HCA put three key points to Lord Kamall:
- Mandated Food Standards: To mandate the NHS Food Standards, which are due to be published shortly, so that they can be measured by the Care Quality Commission. The NACC would welcome these standards for care catering.
- Mandated Training: To mandate that every member of staff within hospitals that has contact with the food chain receives food hygiene training that is commensurate to their duties. This will raise standards and ensure the integrity of the food chain. Mandated training within the care sector will have the same impact and also create a viable career pathway for chefs and caterers with skills recognition and opportunities to develop.
- Ongoing communication: A commitment to keeping the lines of communications open, facilitating the opportunity for future engagement.
Following the meeting Sue Cawthray, said: “Catering within health care and social care are intrinsically linked and today’s meeting was a major breakthrough in communication between our associations and the government. We are grateful to Lord Kamall for giving us this platform and for his willingness to listen.”
Brian Robb added: “It is vital that everyone associated with the food chain in health and social care is appropriately trained, including porters, nurses and care teams, as well as the catering teams themselves. Today, we were able to get our important message in front of the decision makers, which is a huge step forward for our sectors.”
Lord Kamall has committed that he will take away the points raised for consideration. The NACC and HCA will keep its members updated as things progress.