Feedback from HCA National Leadership & Development Forum 2016

We took a number of vox-pops at the 2016 HCA National Leadership & Development Forum at the ACC Liverpool (14-15 April), inviting you to tell us what you thought of this year’s event. Thank you all for your comments. Your feedback is important to the ongoing success of the HCA National Forum.

And here is what you said…

National Officers

“I have had time to reflect on what was a tremendous Forum and I wanted to thank you and the whole team for staging a very professional, informative and fun Conference (I know - but that’s what it is to me!). The organisation was second to none and it was fantastic to be in the great city of Liverpool.

Your hospitality and your help was much appreciated by both Ruth and I so thank you once again.
Please pass on my appreciation to your team and take it easy for now.”

Mike Hall, Vice President, HCA

“Congratulations to you and your team on an fantastic Leadership and Development Forum. I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Liverpool and wish I had taken some additional time to see some of the many attractions. The Forum was interesting, thought provoking and inspiring. It was difficult to pick out who were the highlights because I enjoyed all the sessions, but I always enjoy hearing about successful patient experiences. The venue was first class, hotel and conference centre, the evening events were superbly organized, with the food and entertainment excellent. A great job done!

Well done again to the team who were a credit to the Association,. I look forward to meeting you again soon."

Stewart McKenzie, Deputy National Chair, HCA

“The event was brilliantly managed – a big thank you to you, Adrian and the team supporting the North Wales & Merseyside Branch so effectively.”

Phil Shelley, HCA National Chair

“Thanks very much for delivering a truly fantastic Forum with superb hospitality and great entertainment.

It was great. The delegates returning home will have taken back some rich ideas and thoughts, all created from your forward planning and good foresight. The entertainment and food was second to none.

Thanks for your care and attention to detail to enable the delegates to have a special time.
Deborah and I are very grateful for your kindness.”

Mark Hayman, Vice President, HCA

Speaker Feedback

Thank you so much for a wonderfully organised event, it was amazing and so are you. I was really impressed with the precision and attention to detail. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your organisation. Hope to see you again. Best wishes.

Donna Brown, Divisional Director - ISS Facility Services, Healthcare

Rosie Boycott , Chair of London Food, Writer and Broadcaster said she really enjoyed the event and hoped all went well from our side, adding, "Who would have thought I'd be interested in packaging? But I was and I found it riveting."

You and your team were very hospitable and the organisation seamless. It meant that as a Speaker, I knew where I should be and at what time. Equally I felt welcomed into a group that I hadn't previously known, which was great.

Deepa Kariyawasam, Senior Renal Dietitian

As one of the Speakers you and your team made me feel supported throughout the morning of my presentation. Your attention to detail was second to none as well as your pure professionalism. I was very nervous but I was very well directed, which truly helped me with my nerves.

With regard to the event overall, this is my third Forum and I have to say this is one of the best I have ever attended.

The Hotel - Outstanding; Organisation of Ferry across the Mersey - Brilliant and The actual Forum - Second to none. The information in the Delegates bags was very useful and the Awards ceremony - Brilliant.

Entertainment and organisation of the evening’s events was excellent and so much fun. Again an amazing attention to detail with all the items on the tables for the fancy dress and the menu cards and place names for the formal dinner.

To sum up, as one of the Speakers I was treated like royalty and made to feel very special. The whole event was truly amazing.

Many thanks to you and your team. What an amazing Herculean task, but boy, what a result! It is credit to your hard work.

Elizabeth Hawkshaw, Catering Manager, Sheffield Teaching Hospital

From the moment I arrived I felt so much love from everybody. Everyone was kind and always asking if I was OK. I felt privileged to be part of such a special Forum. As to my personal high points, it was sharing time and becoming friends with Steven Storey and Liz Hawkshaw – two very special people with enormous hearts. 

The personal support Chris Lay gave me was a big help. His charisma and thoughtfulness for everyone meant a lot and deserves a special mention.

Lansdowne Publishing’s event management was at its best. Audrey didn't just offer support but offered her friendship. Her hard work, kind words and friendly face made my time leading up to and during the HCA Forum, unforgettable. Indeed, I hope our paths will cross again and I really look forward to it.

I thought the ACC was a great venue and The Pullman was a very nice hotel. Everything I ate was tasty and I had no complaints. The service was always at the highest of standards. 

I have since been asked to speak at the Northern Branch this year and join the Branch as a Member.

Michael Porter, Support Worker North Tyneside General Hospital

As ever, I found the preparation for the event to be done with military precision, which is great because it ensures I have everything ready ahead of time.

It was great to have the support of the AV team for the (very early in morning) rehearsal and to have the opportunity to have that final run through.

I was so well looked after by everyone from the HCA Forum and the Events team – down to having a nominated ‘carer’ (probably wise really).

On personal note, I would like to say a huge thank you for the invitation to be a guest at the Forum and for providing myself and Alaster Yoxhall with the opportunity to share our current packaging project.

It was a real pleasure to be part of the HCA Forum, to learn about some amazing work that is happening and to have the opportunity to meet with old friends and colleagues.

My sincere congratulations to all involved.

Caroline Lecko, Patient Safety Lead NHS England, Packaging and Waste

Thank you very much for having me speak. I could talk all day about packaging and older people…

Alaster Yoxhall, Principal Research Fellow, Art and Design Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

Can I thank you and your team for a great FORUM.

The feedback from the HCI visitors has been superb, they loved it, changing the format from the norm worked as well and built upon the ethos of sharing knowledge and passion. The Swedish, Canadians and Portuguese especially loved being part of the nights and loved how we do the formal and then party. (It must have been good as I did not get to bed before 2am on any night and 4am on the Friday!)

Andy Jones, Past National Chair HCA & NHS Advocate

Delegate/Exhibitor Feedback

It’s my first Forum. Interesting from a consultancy side to see what’s going on at the moment and the advances in hospital catering. We have been doing work with the HCA and the Sustainable Restaurant Association, looking at joining up sustainable healthy eating/collaboration, so I came to find out more.

Naomi Duncan, Consultant from Neller Davies

I have been involved in catering for just over 12 months as an Assistant Manager in the catering department so this is my first time at a HCA Forum. I have learnt so much and got so many contacts from this. I have got lots of ideas for our Trust to take forward.

Ros Bratherton, NHS Care Record Service at Mid Cheshire Hospitals

On behalf of the West of Scotland Branch of HCA, I would like to pass on a special thanks to all who were involved in hosting a fabulous National Forum. We all appreciate the amount of time and effort that is put in to organising such an event and you certainly did the Hospital Caterers Association proud.

Speakers were all fantastic and very appropriate to our catering service that we all provide, on a daily basis. Our suppliers across the country were all very helpful providing information as required. The President's Dinner and Awards was a great night, followed by the Branch Dinner - and what can I say? Here come the 60s' team – fantastic.

Accommodation was all excellent - even though it was in 3 different hotels they were all within walking distance to the ACC, which itself was a great venue. You are so lucky to have such a venue in Liverpool.

May I once again take this opportunity of thanking you all for a fantastic National Forum. Wishing you all the very best, hope to see you again soon.

Sheila M Miller, Branch Secretary, West of Scotland Branch

This is the first year I have been. I take the lead on food and nutrition for an elderly care group called HC One, which has 46 care homes with 12,000 residents. We work closely with Suppliers that work with the NHS. What has been very useful is that a lot of Suppliers are here with new products and I am looking at the application that these products could have in elderly care. It is helpful to see the new products. I would come again for the exhibition because there is some really good stuff and people are happy to engage about their products.

Re the Speakers, I was surprised to see that the Dietitians’ thinking is outdated and their application is not in line with best practice. We refer a lot of patients to NHS hospitals and then they come back with weight loss so they are not getting the right foods and proteins. It is shocking that some Dietitians in the NHS have not got the best practice or thinking about that.

Tracy Sutherland, Head of Hospitality, HC One and Meridian Care Homes


The HCA takes all feedback seriously and L&D Forum National Secretary, Amanda Cartmill, is in discussion with Tracy to better understand and address her concerns. Outcome to follow in due course.

Today has been a bit quiet but that is because people have been listening to the presentations. We would certainly consider exhibiting again.

On a Roll Sandwich Company Ltd

These are all great opportunities to meet people in catering services.

Tony Smith, JDE Professional

This is our first time exhibiting. It has been successful. Not everyone is around at the same time because of the presentations but during the breaks people have made a good effort to go round all the stands. There is potential to increase our business from this. Nothing negative to say.

Gareth Toms, Mrs Crimbles Ltd

So far it has undoubtedly been our most successful HCA Exhibition. The developments we have made in the range of healthy options and the general focus of the NHS towards healthy vending, especially with the implementation of the sugar tax, has meant we have had a number of Trusts wanting a serious discussion about our vending. A brilliant day.

Rude Food Vending Company

First time we have exhibited. We wanted to get some contacts with hospital caterers. A lot of the people we know have been to the stand but only a handful are new. Not as many as I was hoping but hoping more will come on Friday.

Ellie James, Quorn Foods

This is the first time we have come. Linda McCartney foods are obviously very healthy and there is a big focus on healthy foods in the NHS. Linda McCartney is fantastic in retail and food service is not our biggest plan but up against the competition it is very good. Today is about brand awareness.

Peter Newell, Linda McCartney Foods

We have exhibited here for many years. It is more of a social event as well because we don’t see all our customers during the year so it’s a good way to keep in touch.

Peter Glossop, Socamel UK Ltd

I am the Sustainable Food City Liverpool Co-ordinator. We are a food partnership for Liverpool and part of my role is procurement and I have been working with the Royal Liverpool Hospital. I enjoyed their talk. It’s been the first of these events I have been to so I didn’t have any expectations. I have really enjoyed the presentations, especially the ones about nutrition in the elderly as this is an area I am looking at. I would certainly come again.

Lucy Antal, Liverpool Food People

I have been out of catering for a while but was very active in the West Midlands Branch and I used to come to all the Conferences. It has been really good. The presentations have been really good and the venue is good but there is also a good range of suppliers that I haven’t seen before so get new ideas.

Katherine Mitchell, Central Manchester Hospitals

Very informative and the topics are very relevant. Often you go to Forums and the topics don’t always relate to our industry but these ones have. It’s also good to see that the issues you have are issues that we have, so we are not alone.

Barbara Cockwell, Canadian Society of Nutrition Management

Suppliers Feedback

I just wanted to say it was an absolute pleasure to work with you all. I can genuinely say that you made working on your event a thoroughly enjoyable experience throughout, right from the beginning of planning, to the end of the event. I really hope you all found it as enjoyable and successful as I did.

Just to re-iterate what I said earlier, it was a pleasure to work with you all, and I found it very successful and easy, large in part due to each of you, I really do hope you had a similar experience, and most importantly, I hope your delegates had a good experience. I really do hope I get the opportunity to work with you all again in the future.

Joe Mangan, Assistant Event Manager - ACC Liverpool

I just wanted to thank you and the team for all your fantastic feedback from your recent event. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you all and I have to say all of our team commented on how lovely it was to look after such a friendly group of guests. I have made sure your feedback was given to the whole Centerplate team.

I wanted to thank you as well for the lovely gesture of bringing the chefs out for the toast on the opening night. This was also much appreciated. I hope you have all found time to rest a little after the busy event and I really hope to work with you all again the future.

Amy Theaker, Head of Exhibition and Convention Planning - ACC Liverpool

Many thanks for all your help and guidance on Thursday evening's President's Dinner.

I hope you, your team, and indeed all your guests at the dinner, were pleased with my input into the co-ordination of the evenings events, and keeping the timings on the running order in good stead, and indeed the success of the surprise auction.

For my part, it was indeed a very great pleasure to both meet you and work with you and your colleagues.

I would be extremely delighted to work with you again in the future should the necessity arise.

My very sincere thanks once again, and my very best wishes to all the members of your very important and well respected organisation.

Kindest regards.

Mike Culleton, Toast Master