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24/7 food for staff, patients and visitors is a great example to NHS

Neely Mozawala, Tim Radcliffe, Ian Howson

Neely Mozawala, Tim Radcliffe, Ian Howson

A campaigner for 24/7 food to be available for NHS staff has praised Northampton General Hospital’s around-the-clock staff, patient and visitor restaurant after seeing it in action.

Neely Mozawala, a podiatrist, launched a campaign called @NoHungryStaff on social media in November 2021 to gain support for more 24/7 food in the NHS – particularly for staff working long shifts out-of-hours.

One year later – with the support of a NHS England’s Senior Operational and Policy Manager, Philip Shelley - guidance for 24/7 food for staff was included in the new National Standards for Hospital Food and Drink.

Net Zero Food Programme Manager for NHS England, Tim Radcliffe, accompanied Neely on her visit to NGH – and later to Kettering General Hospital – on February 9.

The pair saw NGH’s 24/7 restaurant – Eat Street – in action and also visited the hospital’s kitchens and catering facilities and met staff involved in supporting the environment and preventing food waste.

Neely, who sits on national NHS food panel, said: “I think NGH should be very proud of the 24/7 food service it is offering to staff and providing an area where staff can sit and eat and relax. It is great to see how passionate the Trust is in supporting the health and wellbeing of their teams. They are leading the way for other NHS Trusts to follow.”

Mr Radcliffe said: “There is clearly a real desire at NGH to ensure that staff working outside of core hours have access to food and place where they can relax away from the hurly burly of the ward environment.”

At Kettering General Hospital the pair heard about the hospital’s plans to provide a new staff and patients restaurant later in the summer and explored ideas on how this could best be done.

Mr Radcliffe said: “At Kettering there is blank canvas to develop a new restaurant that is tailored to meet the needs of its users. It is really an exciting opportunity to do things differently.”

Stuart Finn is Group Director of Estates for both Northampton and Kettering general hospitals. He said: “We were delighted to welcome Neely and Tim to see our 24/7 restaurant in action and hear about some of our plans for the future.

“We refurbished Eat Street at NGH in July last year and made it 24/7 to better support our staff, visitors and patients.

“Food plays a very important part in supporting people’s health and wellbeing – and for patients it also helps in their recovery.

“We discussed the NHS’s new guidance on food services with Tim and Neely and shared some of the work we have already done to reduce food waste and help protect the environment.

“We have the ambition of becoming an NHS exemplar site for food services and one example of that is our plan to introduce digital menus for patients.

“This will mean that patients can order their meals on the same day they receive them - rather than filling in paper meal option requests the night before - which helps them to choose food they feel able to eat, reduces waste, and in turns helps in their recovery.”

Paul Shead, Director of Facilities and Estates at NGH, said: “A key driver for staff support and wellbeing from NGH Hospital Chief Executive, Heidi Smoult, and the Trust senior team, was part of our thinking in making Eat Street a 24/7 operation. This supports staff in all areas of the hospital to have access to hot food and drink and a space at whatever time of day their shifts fell to decompress.

“Eat Street helps us to provide more food options throughout the day to our staff which is good for health and wellbeing and helps them to maintain their energy levels and a positive mood.”

Posted on Monday 13th February 2023
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