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Serco wins national award for hospital catering in East Kent

Published: 28 Apr 2016

Serco, working in partnership with East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, has won a national industry award for its work to improve patient catering services in East Kent. The inaugural Hospital Caterers’ Association (HCA) “6Cs Award” is one of only five awards handed out by the industry body in recognition of work to improve patient catering services.

Serco serves up over 1,000 main meals each day to patients across the Trust’s three main sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Margate.  Beating off strong competition, the judging panel were impressed by the professional collaboration between Serco and the NHS’s own clinical and dietetic teams to improve the standard of patient catering.

Since 2012, the team has worked in partnership to introduce a range of service improvements, which have been positively received by patients. These include:  

  • a finger food (buffet style) platter menu for patients with advanced dementia who are less dextrous and may struggle to use cutlery. These platters are served on blue plates to help those also visually impaired to distinguish between food items on the plate;
  • a picture menu to make it easier for those with communications difficulties to understand and chose their meals, drinks and snacks;
  • a Ward Housekeeper to coordinate all ‘housekeeping services’ on the ward, including meal orders and the serving of meals and beverages;
  • red place mats on bedside tables for vulnerable patients to remind healthcare teams that these individuals need their food and fluid intake to be closely monitored; and
  • the reintroduction of ward kitchen to enable meals to be cooked close to the patents and point of service.

Wendy-Ling Relph, Trust Matron for Nutrition & Quality Improvement, said:  “Over the last four years, the Trust and Serco have worked closely together developing our Patient Catering Services. We are delighted to have our efforts recognised with this prestigious award. The national judging panel were so impressed that they plan to visit East Kent in order to share our innovations and commitment with other hospitals across the country.”

Phil Mitchell, Serco’s Contract Director added: “Serco takes great pride in providing high quality patient catering services and meeting their individual needs. Nutritious food is vital to a patients’ recovery and we have collaborated with the Trust, public and patients to improve our overall service. We continue to innovate and are currently working with local schools to develop and review our children’s menu.  I would like to thank all those involved in patient catering for their hard work in helping us to achieve this accolade.”

Over 300 guests attended the awards ceremony which took place at the HCA national leadership and development forum on 15 April in Liverpool.