Foodservice Cateys 2016: Healthcare Caterer of the Year

20 October 2016
Foodservice Cateys 2016: Healthcare Caterer of the Year

Sponsored by Zenith Hygiene Group

St Andrew's Healthcare

St Andrew's Healthcare is dedicated to transforming the lives of people with mental health needs, having grown its reputation as an influential pioneer in the field over the past 178 years. It delivers patient care in Northampton, Birmingham, Essex and Nottinghamshire, and has 1,007 registered beds across its four sites.

The charity formed in 1838 with the opening of the Northampton Hospital, offering ‘humane' care to the mentally ill. It was one of four registered psychiatric hospitals that did not join the National Health Service in 1948, maintaining its charitable status. St Andrew's trains clinical leaders for the future, shares knowledge widely and has a research centre partnered with King's College London.

But the catering team at St Andrew's also constantly strives to improve its performance, and in 2009 it took the decision to move from an in-house cook-chill unit to fresh cooking in 14 local kitchens. In the same year, it had its first Hospitality Assured accreditation and has improved its score every year since, gaining premier status in 2013.

The team works with its service users and dietetic team to develop eight separate menus tailored for the needs of patients. Chefs offer patients the opportunity to taste new dishes before they are finalised. The changes have seen quarterly patient meal survey scores increase from 55% to more than 80%.

In 2013-14, the charity started a chef apprenticeship scheme with five hotel service assistants becoming qualified in professional cookery in 2015. Head chefs take it in turns to run masterclasses every Friday for the eight apprentices working with the charity this year.

St Andrew's recently launched a training initiative for hotel service assistants called Proud to Serve. It consists of a 95-question test covering basic areas of catering through to health and safety. Employees complete the test within the first three months of starting to ensure they have reached a minimum level of understanding in all areas.

Last year, St Andrew's developed its own in-house food-safety training, which is used across the organisation for catering and clinical staff, saving the charity £12,000 every year. The catering team was awarded the Silver Food For Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association in 2014, making it the first mental health provider to achieve the standard.

Other notable achievements include the installation of a cashless till system, which has helped improve data collection and controls. The system is being further improved this year with the launch of a fingerprint cashless add-on for patients. Plans are also under way to introduce an in-house bakery for patients to work in alongside the catering team. It aims to provide all the bread required for the Northampton site, while French chef and baker Richard Bertinet will be the bakery's patron.

In addition to this, St Andrew's has demonstrated commercial success by achieving cost savings of 5% across all food purchases.

What the judges said

"An outstanding contribution to the healthcare for those with mental health problems. A great deal of care in providing high-quality meals and service to all residents."

Professor David Foskett, University of West London

"St Andrew's is working in a very difficult area of mental health so often overlooked these days. It will be interesting to see the bread development with Richard Bertinet and the progress on the fingerprint biometric technology for patient choice."

Vic Laws, AVL Consultancy


  • Serco
  • St Andrew's Healthcare
  • St Monica Trust

Past winners

  • 2015 Sunrise Senior Living
  • 2014 ISS Healthcare
  • 2013 Elior UK

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