NACC meeting with minister a 'major breakthrough'

The NACC and HCA met Lord Kamall to talk about training and qualifications for the health and social care catering workforce.

The head of the NACC has described a meeting with a government minister over training in care catering as a "major breakthrough" in communication.

On Wednesday 9 February, Sue Cawthray, national chair for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), and Brian Robb, chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), met Lord Kamall, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for technology, innovation and life sciences at the Department of Health and Social Care.

It came after a debate in the House of Lords in January, during which Baroness Barker, NACC patron, raised awareness of the complexities and challenges of care catering.

The meeting, to discuss issues and solutions for health and care catering in the Health and Care Bill, was also attended by Baroness Barker, Lord Hunt, president of the HCA, Phil Shelley, senior operational and policy manager at NHS Improvement, and David Gibson, head of NHS estates and facilities.

The NACC and HCA put three key points to Lord Kamall:

  • Mandated food standards: To mandate the NHS Food Standards, which are due to be published shortly, so they can be measured by the Care Quality Commission. The NACC would welcome similar standards for care catering.
  • Mandated training: To mandate that every member of staff within hospitals that has contact with the food chain receives food hygiene training that is commensurate to their duties. Mandated training within the care sector will have the same impact and create a viable career pathway for chefs and caterers with skills recognition and opportunities to develop.
  • Ongoing communication: A commitment to keeping the lines of communication open, faciltating the opportunity for future engagement.

Following the meeting Cawthray, said: “Catering within health care and social care are intrinsically linked and today’s meeting was a major breakthrough in communication between our associations and the government. We are grateful to Lord Kamall for giving us this platform and for his willingness to listen.”

Robb added: “It is vital that everyone associated with the food chain in health and social care is appropriately trained, including porters, nurses and care teams, as well as the catering teams themselves. Today, we were able to get our important message in front of the decision makers, which is a huge step forward for our sectors.”

Lord Kamall committed to take away the points raised for consideration. The NACC and HCA say they will keep members updated.

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