We were privileged as the NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health to close the 2019 calendar year with a key contribution to the national policy dialogue on tackling malnutrition in the UK health system through our convening of the Inside Government Forum on NHS food and nutrition standards.
The day consisted of a range of talks, from a number of leading multidisciplinary experts from across the United Kingdom representing key segments in the food supply chain for healthcare institutions as well as the interface with patients requiring the integration of hospital catering, dietetics and clinical care.
The theme of the day was to combine the expertise of these different professionals together to discuss how to improve NHS food provision as well as nutritional care for patients and for staff.
The day was chaired by Professor Sumantra Ray, NNEdPro Founding Chair and Executive Director, and started with an opening address from Phillip Shelley the Chair of the National Food Review. A key aspect of his talk was ‘The power of 3’ which was described as the collaboration between Caterers, Dietitians and Nurses to provide high quality food which can be delivered to patients.
This was followed by an address by Paul Freeston, CEO of Apetito and Wilthsire Farm Foods, who explained how they have continued as the NHS’s number one food provider through focus on quality and delivery of their products. An interactive panel discussion including other speakers as well as personal insights shared by Lord Rea widened the discussion to consider the roles of other healthcare and support professions to augment ‘The power of 3’.
After lunch, the afternoon was started by Dr Luke Buckner, NNEdPro Global Innovation Panel Deputy Co-Lead. This included an interactive discussion session including an overview of the Nutrition Education Policy for Healthcare Practice (NEPHELP) initiative, from which it was proposed that the ‘Power of 3’ could include Doctors as an interim between Nurses and Dietitians. The day also explored a number of other case studies building on a day of shared experiences from good practice across the country, such as technology for calorie monitoring for inpatients, to changes in “junk food” in hospital shops and even a hospital utilising space to grow its own vegetables with patients as volunteers.
Overall the day was hugely efficient in bringing together both overlapping as well as disparate themes into a common framework, providing thoughts for key policy influencers such as Phillip Shelley to take away, as well as a platform for lead caterers to take ideas back to their respective trusts.
Further to the opportunity to share our own experience and expertise, NNEdPro came away with key insights into the challenges facing catering departments and ideas of how by changing this we can begin to tackle NHS food and nutritional care standards upstream, whilst simultaneously closing the awareness gap at all levels of healthcare professionals in both primary and secondary care. This would move us towards a seamless patient journey with appropriate provision of food in both hospitals and the community as well as transfer of nutritional care between clinical settings.
Listen to the NNEdPro Global Centre inaugural podcast episode to hear more from Dr Luke Buckner about the day!