ISS Healthcare Calderdale Royal Hospital

ISS Healthcare provides catering services a number of NHS sites including Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Tracy Rawcliffe is the general manager and is responsible for all of ISS operations on the Calderdale Royal site, part of the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, overseeing catering, cleaning, security and the porter service. We spoke to Tracey about the work the company had done to achieve the Food for Life Served Here Bronze award, which they achieved in May 2015, how they worked towards the Silver award and how they are now working towards their Gold award.

What’s the most popular meal you serve?
Our most popular dishes are the most traditional including pies, cottage pies and curries. Soup is also very popular – it’s all made fresh on site, with fresh bread also made on site, too.

What was the original motivation for gaining an award?

Initially, the motivation came through the Trust’s decision to work on the Food for Life Hospital Leaders Programme and look at achieving CQUIN 295, which we were successful in doing. At the same time, the management team at ISS Healthcare took the decision to encourage all hospital contracts to achieve at least bronze on the retail operations.

There was a real push from the Trust to look at food in the whole setting and the catering operation made up a large part of that work. The Catering team have been involved right from the start of the process and are proud to have supported the working group involved in looking at food culture throughout the site, with achieving FFLSH for the retail operation being part of this.

How does the award fit in to your Health and Wellbeing strategies?
ISS Healthcare have supported the Trust with some innovative ideas to improve health and wellbeing particularly for staff. We now deliver meals out to all wards for any staff that can’t leave their ward to get to the restaurant. They can ring up and order their food, and have it brought to them.

There are vending facilities for staff working overnight, all of which now have sugar free drinks and healthy options, with one machine stocking food from the restaurant including soups and salads. Work is ongoing to promote this to staff and to encourage uptake, with surveys taking place to see what staff would like in the machines to encourage healthier diets.

All nutritional information for food served is now displayed, which helps the occupational health team in their quest to encourage healthier choices to be made around food.

We have also set our chefs a challenge to devise meat-free dishes that aren’t loaded with dairy products and cheese - these are proving to be popular alongside our superfood salads and protein balls, which encourages take up, as they are priced competitively and made fresh on-site.

What do you think the long-term effect of this approach will be on patients, staff and visitors?
The vision for the trust is to show the hospital as a health promoting environment in all areas. The work we are doing around the food served in our retail restaurant is helping achieve this vision. By changing the way we produce food, and having healthier choices both in the restaurant and in vending services, this will contribute to improving the health of the hospital community over time.

How did you find the process of gaining the award?

We found the process to be positive and rewarding throughout our journey to achieving the award and have really enjoyed the chance to look at our service and food in terms of meeting the standards required. All of the Soil Association staff involved, from the support we have had to the inspection, have proved to be very knowledgeable and helpful. I can’t think of any area that could have been improved.

Have you used Food for Life Served Here training and support packages, either before receiving your award, or to upgrade to silver or gold? How have they helped?
We had a benchmarking session and gap analysis with the Delivery Manager at the Soil Association, which was extremely useful in our upgrade to silver. The advice provided was clear, with simple ideas of how we could move towards our goal and a concise action plan of what we needed to do. The whole support, including the follow up we received, was well worth the cost and saved us time in the long run. This was delivered through the Food for Life Hospital Leaders package, which the Trust has signed up to as a member.

What impact has being awarded a Food for Life Served Here Award had on your organisation?
There has been a positive impact on the staff in our catering team in terms of their motivation and pride in the food that’s being produced in the kitchen. Over the years, the role of the chef, especially in healthcare, has been de-skilled. As a company, ISS Healthcare took the decision to look at FFLSH and have bucked the trend, and now chefs are cooking food from scratch and regaining lost skills. Two employees have taken formal qualifications and are now fully skilled. All the team are visibly happier at work, and are proud of the food and the award.

We did expect an increase in costs attributed to gaining our Silver award, but that has not been the case. By making small changes in the ingredients we buy, in order to meet the standards and reviewing our dishes, we have been able to keep costs down, which was very important to us.

Are there any unexpected benefits?
Our work toward the FFLSH award, and the work we have done around food in the wider setting at the Trust, have shown ISS Healthcare to be committed to contributing towards the 'Health and Wellbeing agenda' in the hospital.

This has improved relations with the Trust and helped in our contract negotiations, as we are seen as a supportive and committed partner. ISS Healthcare has also covered the cost of certification, therefore allowing the impact to be cost neutral for the Trust.

The work on FFLSH and the resulting positive promotion has improved take up of meals in the restaurant, taking us from a loss making enterprise into a profitable, commercially sound site.

After saying all that, the most gratifying result for me has been the impact on my team and the morale of the catering staff we work with. It’s wonderful to see such a positive change and to make a difference to everyday working lives.

Are you planning to upgrade or expand your Food for Life Served Here Awards?
We will start to look at the Gold award from next year to assess if it would be possible to achieve. This will mean working with our central procurement team at ISS who are always supportive of what we want to work towards.

Top tip …
Believe that you can do it and you'll achieve the award. Try and keep your mind on the end goal and the benefit of the work, and why it’s important. If all the team are brought along and understand why change is happening, it can be truly motivating.

"By changing the way we produce food, and having healthier choices both in the restaurant and in vending services, this will contribute to improving the health of the hospital community over time."Tracy Rawcliffe (General Manager, ISS Calderdale Royal)