Service Excellence

The desire to be the best is what drives all professional hospital caterers, but sometimes we all need to look to others for advice, encouragement and support. In this section you will find the most up to date healthcare catering initiatives and related resources.

"The ability to provide a high quality, patient led, catering experience consistently."

HCA National Awards

Each year the Hospital Caterers Association runs a series of national awards that are focused on celebrating the best in the business. The winners, including the prestigious Wilma Wilkie Award for Outstanding Service, are announced at the President’s Dinner at the Learning and Development Forum.

2024 Winners

Previous HCA Awards

Dementia care - You can make a difference

Tommy Whitelaw is continuing his superb work, spreading the word on the Dementia Carer Voices 'You Can Make a Difference' campaign with the release of a video which features First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, and Professor Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Scotland and Chair of National Nutritional Care Advisory Board.


Rebecca Doig is 31, Pregnant and has Alzheimer's. The disease is no respecter of age, and whilst Rebecca has a rare form of Alzheimer’s she may never remember the name of her baby. This video highlights the need for further research into Alzheimer’s and the personal sacrifices that are required. As Rebecca’s husband says, “I never suffer a greater tragedy in my entire life. It’s a debilitating disease”.


Power of 3

Bringing together complimentary disciplines; Catering, Dietetics and Nursing strengthens the ability to increase nutritional outcomes.

The positive influence and impact of professional collaboration is a fundamental to create a truly holistic and 360 degree approach to nutrition and hydration. Linking our ward service teams with catering and dietetics ensures that our ward staff have a greater awareness of enhancing recovery through appropriate nutrition.

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Last 9 yards

To improve catering at ward level, the Hospital Catering Association calls for full responsibility of the entire patient catering service.

“In caring for the food, you are caring for the patient”; closer relationships with the key medical teams will release clinical time and allow caterers to support the ethos of nutrition and hydration being a critical part of the patient’s recovery plan.

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Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care Catering


In association with the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and National Association of Care Catering (NACC) the Institute of Hospitality (IOH) has developed a Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care Catering.

This qualification is specifically designed for people who cater for patients and residents in a health and social care setting and aims to develop their awareness of diet and appetite issues that may arise in this environment. It covers the importance of nutrition and hydration in maintaining health and wellbeing, how multi-professional teams work together to provide the level of nutritional care needed by different people, the needs of Dysphagia sufferers and how the condition impacts on diets and menus, how to cook food and amend menus for Dysphagia sufferers, the role of appetite and its influencing factors, and how to cook and hold food to maximise its effect on appetite.

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Easy OpenPackaged food and goods are all around us and perform an important role in protecting, preserving and promoting the contents. Packaging does however have to enable us to gain access to those contents. The term 'Wrap Rage' was coined in 2003 to describe the frustration that people feel when finding access difficult or impossible. Whilst often seen as a 'frustration' or annoyance, studies have shown that for hospital patients lack of access to packaged food can lead to or acerbate malnutrition.

In 2013 the NHS set up a Taskforce to look at ways to improve accessibility and eliminate the problem. This taskforce has representatives from the NHS, the HCA, industry and academia. The approach taken has been to highlight design guidelines for accessible packaging and to promote the testing of the packaging on older people as part of the supply process.

To quote Caroline Lecko, NHS patient Safety lead: “Fundamentally this is about empowering patients to eat and drink well. This in turn could help reduce the risk of malnutrition, supporting nurses, hospital caterers and dieticians be even more effective in their complex and demanding environments”.


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