Fionnuala Cook stepped down as president of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) on Friday 7th April at this year’s Leadership and Development Forum.
Cook, who became president of the HCA in 2012, was succeeded by the Right Honourable Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.
She became president of the HCA after 21 years of making a difference to the health and social care of thousands of people in Northern Ireland.
Initially Chairwoman of the Southern Health and Social Services Council she then served for six years at Chairwoman of the Southern HSS Board, before continuing on a trustee of multiple organisations. Her services in health and social care were recognised in 2002 when she was awarded an OBE.
Cook said she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, David, who will be retiring shortly, but she will endeavour to keep herself busy and will continue to be a trustee of the Red Cross.
She said: “My time as president of the HCA has gone by so quickly but I have seen real change and growth in positional strength during that time.
“I am extremely proud of the collaboration that has developed between organisations and the HCA where we now show value and maturity in our aims and objectives.
“There has been a sense of pride in seeing such leadership and creativity in hospital catering, acknowledging that organisations are keen to stand alongside the HCA. Forums, study days and social events have strengthened the friendships that have developed.”
Describing some of the challenges being faced by hospital caterers, she said: “The NHS will continue to be vulnerable to ‘side-swiping’ and hospital caterers will be challenged to rise above unfair criticism.
“The HCA will need to be strong and innovative as it will be challenged by commerciality which could affect our NHS values. Being part of an organisation that covers all four nations is so refreshing – sharing great practice and learning from each other.”