The purpose of the hospital food project was to support the six Merseyside Trusts in addressing their NHS corporate citizen responsibilities in order to meet the requirements of the Choosing Health white paper and the public health domain for the Healthcare Commission‟s Assessment of Trusts.
In autumn 2007 an audit of food provision was undertaken by Heart of Mersey (HoM) to assess current food provision and practices and assess staff views and awareness of initiatives in place to promote healthy eating. As a result of the audit recommendations were made and the catering team
sought to implement these. The recommendations included;
- Developing and adopting a coordinated Trust-wide approach to marketing and promoting the importance of healthy eating to staff, patients and visitors on the hospital site.
- Extending the choice and variety of healthier hot meals, sandwiches and healthy snacks.
- Monitoring and analysing sales data across the facilities and
- Introducing a programme of nutrition training for catering staff.
- The audit also highlighted that the majority of catering managers were already contributing to healthy eating however hospital staff were not aware of this. This highlighted a need to improve communication between catering staff and hospital staff . In the summer of 2008 a social marketing company ICE was employed to give training in social marketing techniques to staff and to support a three month social marketing campaign called "Nourish‟.
- HoM commissioned David Murray Consultancy to externally evaluate the project. The evaluation measures to what extent the project and the Nourish campaign have brought about positive change in the catering facilities and amongst the behaviours of hospital staff using the catering facilities.
Staff across the Trusts really engaged with and showed a great deal of support to the project. This was visible via the increase in healthier food options available to staff, improved salad bars and the introduction of new healthier snacks along with the various ways in which staff were engaged in the Nourish campaign with theme days, meal deals, educational materials and posters promoting healthy eating.