Mike Duckett, a passionate campaigner for better hospital food and former head of catering at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, has died.
After working for contract caterers at St Mary's & King's College Hospitals in London, he returned to the NHS as head of catering at the Royal Brompton , where he campaigned for fresh, local food and emphasised its importance in patient care.
In 2005 he was involved with the Hospital Food Project, which aimed to increase the amount of local, seasonal and organic food for patients in four London hospitals, including the Royal Brompton.
Following that he worked on the Good Food on the Public Plate initiative, in conjunction with Sustain and supported by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, which worked with hospitals, schools and care homes to increase the amount of sustainable food being served across the cost sector.
In an interview with The Caterer in 2007, Duckett said: "We've got to come away from ready meals and give people a healthier choice. Why shouldn't patients have the best available if we're trying to help them get well?"
Duckett was appointed MBE in the 2009 Queens' Birthday Honours List for his services to the NHS, and received the BBC Food Programme's Food & Farming Award in 2012.
The catering at the Royal Brompton was also highlighted in Lord Carter's report on NHS efficiency published in 2015, and Duckett won the Public Procurement category at the 2006 Caroline Walker Trust awards.
Julian Fris, founder and director of facilities management and catering consultancy Neller Davies, said: "I had the pleasure of knowing Mike for 30 years and first met him when I employed him as the catering manager for St Charles Hospital. He was incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the catering and the sector he worked in.
"Mike was a relentless campaigner for better food in hospitals. He strongly argued that food was medicine and it was less about cost but the lasting benefit of patient recovery and wellbeing which is unquantifiable.
"He regularly challenged food manufacturers and industry bodies and bemoaned the demise of the hospital kitchen. He has left a significant legacy to the industry and much of it underpins the government's current review on hospital food."