Chairman's message

Welcome to the Hospital Caterers Association website.

The Hospital Caterers Association encompasses the single largest group of healthcare catering providers within the NHS and is the recognised voice of hospital catering. It represents caterers who provide a wide range of food and other services for patients, visitors and staff in NHS hospitals and healthcare facilities. The HCA is a national organisation, with fifteen branches throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and more than 250 hospitals represented in its membership.

The Association is entirely about its members and one of the most important things for me is that it continues to offer the support they need. We are all very aware that the complexity of our daily jobs as caterers in the NHS has increased dramatically. Therefore, it is imperative to continue to communicate effectively with our members and offer them access to a wide range of resources covering education, training, guidance, and legislation.

Since I joined the NHS in 1999, I have passionately believed that tasty wholesome food plays a crucial part in a patient’s recovery from illness or surgery, yet all too often is either overlooked or undervalued. I intend to change that.

My main focus during my leadership is likely to involve making the Association more inclusive and diverse, particularly attracting younger catering leaders to ensure it is truly representative of the health and social care sector, which has seen huge changes over the past decade.

I will also be continuing to drive forward the outcomes of the Hospital Food Review, and I cannot stress enough the importance of offering patients and hospital staff nutritious and appetising meals. We run a number of campaigns that aim to promote greater collaboration between caterers, nurses and dietitians, and these are powerful tools in promoting high-quality patient care. I am particularly proud of our Nutrition and Hydration 24/7, 365 campaign, which aims to focus on nutrition and hydration every single day.

Over the past few years, each Branch has adopted a policy of having a number of their regular meetings using modern technology, i.e. Teams or Zoom. This has the benefit of the members being closer to their home or office immediately the meeting ends without a lot of unnecessary travel. However, we also recognise the importance of also holding meaningful face-to-face meetings, so please visit the ‘Events’ page of this website to keep up to date.

Our annual Leadership and Development Forums always represent excellent value for money and I would recommend anyone who has an interest in hospital catering to not only join the Association but to make every effort to join us at the Forum. The next one is due to be held 1 – 2 April 2025 at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole.

I am honoured to have been elected to the chair and I look forward to continuing serving all our members for the next two years.

National Chair
Iain Robertson

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