Published on: 14 February 2021

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The Catering Department at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is one of only eight Trusts nationally to have joined the NHS Exemplary Trusts Programme and Hospital Food Network.

The Trust, which manages Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Teaching Hospitals and Accrington, Clitheroe and Pendle Community Hospitals, has been chosen for their innovation, high food standards and consistent service providing food for patients, staff and visitors across the hospital sites.

The Network has been set-up to host discussions and pilots on topics like menu choices, staff training, food safety management, food waste controls and more. It is a collaborative approach, to share ideas and best practice, to improve food standards in the NHS nationwide.

“We are so proud to have been included in this Network and recognised for our hard work and creative ideas”, said Tim Radcliffe, Facilities Manager for the Trust.

“Some examples of our good practice include our use of venison on our menus, and the fact that we follow the Soil Association ‘Food for Life’ Award scheme, which means we only use British meat and free-range eggs and other fresh produce.

“We also run ‘meat free Monday’, where we only serve completely vegan options in our canteens, with no animal protein used at all. This initiative makes our menu more inclusive and is also more environmentally friendly.”

Joining the Network is another boost to Tim’s 100-strong team, who were recently featured on Channel 4’s ‘Food Unwrapped’ as an example of safe, efficient and high-quality hospital food, dubbed “quite possibly, the best in the NHS”. The Trust has invested heavily in their catering workforce, increasing the number of chefs through apprenticeship schemes, and programmes like ‘Get in to Hospitals’, run by the Princes Trust.

“We’re looking forward to sharing best practice with other Trusts and exploring new ideas and initiatives to improve the service we provide even further, as part of the Network”, Tim added.