On Friday 7th April 2017 at the Hospital Caterers Association AGM, Stewart McKenzie took the helm of the HCA as national chair.
McKenzie (pictured), is site facilities manager at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and succeeded Phil Shelley who has been national chair since April 2015.
McKenzie will build on Shelley’s work, gaining national prominence for the association and Shelley’s legacy of greater collaboration with hospital colleagues, other catering associations and outside trade bodies.
He will continue to promote the importance of the HCA’s nutritional and hydration issue-based campaigns, including the ‘Power of 3’ and the ‘Last 9 Yards’ initiatives, as well as the HCA’s most recently launched 365-day nutrition and hydration awareness campaign.
McKenzie will also look to expand the HCA’s membership and promote the association as an influential trade organisation within the public sector.
He said: “Phil has been an absolute inspiration and I cannot praise him highly enough. He’s been fantastic at raising the profile of the association and it has significantly moved forward under his leadership. I hope to be able to build on his achievements and will continue to drive the importance of the HCA’s message of taking a patient-centred approach.
“Fundamentally, everything we do is about the patients in our care, I am passionate about patient services and doing the best we can for them. I believe in the ethos of the NHS, and the social values it has instilled in us. People who work in the NHS tend to do so because they care.
“I will continue to promote the initiatives and campaigns of the HCA. I believe that the Power of 3 campaign which promotes collaboration between caterers, nurses and dietitians should overarch much of what we are aiming to promote as an association. A multidisciplinary approach is pivotal in ensuring that the patient is at the heart of our services.
“The partnerships and collaborations the HCA have already formed make us collectively stronger, it’s important we strengthen these to take a more joined up approach in order to have more influence on the political platform.
“I would be open to suggestions of other partnerships and organisations we should look to work closer with, but although this will be a focus for the HCA, the association will remain independent and will not be afraid to say when we disagree with something.”
He added: “There’s a lot of great work going on in our hospitals, we need to get better at sharing this best practice as an organisation and rolling it out within the four nations.
“Financial constraints and pressures continue to be a big challenge for hospital caterers, as well as issues relating to recruitment and staff retention, promoting a healthy workforce and the introduction of compliance standards.
“Hospital catering is a complex issue and there are many factors to take into consideration at each individual site. Whatever the service model, we need to make sure we go the extra mile to support patients and their needs.
“I’ve been working in the NHS for 35 years and it continues to evolve and present challenges. It can be frustrating at times but we must continue to do our best to protect our essential services during these tough times.
“Being chair of the HCA is a significant role and one I am looking forward to as this allows you to influence the four nations, we need to endeavour to drive up standards to improve hospital catering to the most vulnerable people we serve.”
Shelley added: “As National Chair in waiting, Stewart supported and advised both myself and the Executive Committee in exemplary fashion.
“His passion for detail and clarity will be a terrific asset in the coming months, particularly as he leads the association to the next level against a backdrop of financial and cultural pressures in the NHS.
“Stewart has a wealth of experience in NHS management and he will link nationally with caterers and fellow organisations with integrity”