The first centre for Culinary Medicine UK has launched at Westminster Kingsway College with a reception for medical and health professionals.
Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, patron of Culinary Medicine UK, who spoke at the launch, said: "If this is rolled out nationally it could save the NHS billions."
Culinary Medicine UK has been teaching individual modules to qualified doctors at weekends using the facilities at Westminster Kingsway culinary school. Now the new centre, boasting a specially designed kitchen with heavy duty catering equipment, will provide a bespoke specialist facility to roll-out a more "holistic, multi-professional view of nutrition care at all stages of the patient journey" by championing the importance of culinary medicine in hospitality.
The centre's vision is for Culinary Medicine to feature in every medical school and to offer continuing professional development courses for qualified healthcare professionals, with an option to complete a Diploma in Culinary Medicine.
The college's deputy principal Gary Hunter (pictured above) welcomed guests to the launch event, addressed by hospital food campaginer Prue Leith and leading doctors.
Leith, who believes that good food leads to faster healing and a quicker recovery for patients, highlighted that hospital staff on night-shifts commonly have access only to processed food from vending machines. "Health ministers, doctors and administrators need to be convinced that good food is medicine," she has previously stated.
Culinary Medicine UK empowers "health professionals to talk confidently about food in medicine" by blending the practical aspects of cooking and the culinary arts with nutrition science. It aims to empower current and future healthcare professionals to deliver evidence-based nutrition care and to be "more confident in the science behind nutrition" and better able to motivate patients to change dietary behaviours.
According to Culinary Medicine UK, a recent study reveals how healthy habits can contribute to a decade of disease-free living thereby having the potential to significantly cut NHS costs and to improve the quality of lives across communities. Despite an abundance of evidence on the role of healthy foods in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes, mental health and cancer, UK medical students currently receive as little as two hours nutrition training. By contrast in the US, nutrition training is routinely and more extensively taught to trainee and qualified doctors.
Culinary Medicine UK is hoping that imminent support from Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, will attract sponsorship enabling a roll-out of affordable workshops in major cities across the UK for families, communities and professionals at risk of nutrition problems.
The new centre for culinary medicine is sponsored by Harrison Catering Services, the Russell Partnership, Charles Wilson (former chief execuitve of Booker and Tesco) and the AIM Foundation.
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