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Sheffield hospital caterers recognised for pioneering work to provide nutritious and healthy food to patients

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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has won a prestigious Health Service Journal Award in recognition of its pioneering work to provide nutritious, healthy and sustainably sourced food to patients.

The Trust’s catering team, which produces and delivers 40,000 meals to patients and staff across six hospital and community sites, scooped the top prize in the ‘Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability’ category after achieving the Soil Association Food for Life Served Here Silver Award and becoming one of the first NHS hospital sites in the UK to pilot and achieve a new Green Kitchen Standard.

Piloting the Standard which is run by the Soil Association and the Carbon Trust – two of the catering industry’s biggest authorities – has enabled the team to make a number of changes that not only have led to improved patient satisfaction scores, but reduced the Trust’s carbon footprint as well.

Described by the judges as having “focused on quality and sustainability which in turn has led to not only a reduction in waste, but greater staff satisfaction”, the team worked closely with patients, suppliers and staff to provide new, healthier menus with nutritious choices, and improved the Trust’s green credentials by purchasing sustainable and ethically sourced foods including organic, producing over 75% meals from scratch, reducing waste and encouraging suppliers to the reduce or reuse delivery packaging.

Fifty newly trained healthy eating and sustainability champions were given extra training to drive change in working practices and promote the benefits of healthy eating, waste reduction and recycling.

Emma Wilson, Head of Catering for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re enormously proud to have won this prestigious award. We are continually working to achieve best practices in all that we do, including providing healthy, high quality food at good cost for our patients and staff and supporting the NHS carbon reduction strategy. Achieving the Food for Life Silver Award and the Green Kitchen Standard has enabled us to completely revisit change in our working practices, which is all the more remarkable when we are one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country. Not only has this improved patient satisfaction scores but will inevitably have a wider environmental impact on the community which we serve.”

For the past 36 years, the Health Service Journal Awards – which is the largest ceremony of its kind in the world – recognises and celebrates a vast array of outstanding achievements by the NHS. This year 1,600 entries were submitted, of which only 224 made it to the final cut. From those 23 deserving winners were decided by an expert panel of judges.

The Trust’s work on staff engagement and an innovative online pre-operative assessment service were also named as finalists in the awards which were announced at a special award ceremony in London on 22 November.