2017 LDF Feedback

Feedback from HCA National Leadership & Development Forum 2017 - Europa Hotel, Belfast (6-7 April)

Delegate Feedback

"This is about my third HCA event. I’ve found it totally inspiring. My abiding thought [from it all] is how much stronger we all are in whichever aspect of healthcare we work in and how much better we are when we work together – the collaboration is so important as well as listening to some of the examples of how people have put into this into practice for the sake of the health of the nation. It also highlights to me the great importance of Catering and Dietetics working together, also nursing and the Power of Three – how it all comes together. I feel energised by it. Thank you very much for inviting me and I’m honoured to be here."
Sian O’Shea, In-coming Chair, British Dietetics Association

“I’ve been to quite a few HCA Conferences. The organisation is good. I love the exhibition and the networking with all companies and colleagues. The sessions have been good – I really loved Roy Lilley. He was very entertaining and to the point, making us think about what we could actually do if it was possible."
Helen Davidson, Catering Strategy Dietitian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

“Our members do try to come to all HCA Forums as often as we can. They’re very informative and it’s the sharing of ideas, meeting other Caterers and trying to move things forward [in our industry] that’s so valuable. The organisation has been fantastic, really well done to Elsa and the team. The Forum content has been great – very varied and we’re making the notes … Alison McCree said earlier that the Efficiency Agenda is here to stay – well, boy, it’s definitely here to stay and that’s something we’re all working very hard towards.”
Mary Moriarty, Honorary Secretary, Catering Management Association of Ireland

“This is my first HCA Forum. It’s been excellent. I’ve found everyone friendly, the speeches have been very well delivered and are very pertinent to here and now and I’m having an excellent time. I’m not yet a Member of the HCA but it certainly seems to be the direction to go in, certainly if you’re committed to your service – the information being shared not just between hospitals but between countries is very good. What’s struck me is that everyone takes everything seriously but it’s not all work – there’s humour and fun as well as work and that helps to make everything relevant. I really enjoyed the President’s Dinner, it was excellent, the food was very good and the entertainment was also very good. It’s a pity Northern Ireland hadn’t a bit more input into the Awards Ceremony. I think maybe we don’t have a big enough group in Northern Ireland whereas other areas can put more into it. Maybe not enough hospitals in Northern Ireland buy into the HCA – in the Belfast Trust it’s very much the case that if you want to join then you’re welcome to join … [she means that there’s no expectation that Caterers should join, and maybe there should be] … Tony O’Hara’s my boss and I think he’s brought the HCA very much to the fore in the Belfast Trust and I hope that continues on because they do some very good work.”
Susan Garland, Assistant Support Services Manager, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

“This is my first HCA Forum and I’ve found it very interesting, very helpful and very knowledgeable about all aspects of Catering, from start to finish. I’ve been in Catering over 30 years and equipment used to be so much heavier, more objects were needed [in the kitchen] but seeing all the new equipment at the Exhibition, how it has been modernised and how light and flexible it is has been so useful. It’s given me some new ideas.”
Margaret Hamilton, Catering Assistant, Holywell Hospital, Northern Health and Social Care Trust

“The organisation of the whole Forum has been brilliant. What’s stuck with me is the emphasis that has been placed on making sure that the quality of the meals and the service to the patient is consistent and it’s good, from the start of the process in the main kitchen right through to the patient. We need to make sure that the Domestics who deal with the patients at the bedside serve the food well. It’s not just the cooking, it’s the presentation that’s important. You’re ill, you want a nice meal presented to you – you eat with your eyes. We should never forget that.”
Lily Cochrane, Senior Supervisor for Community Domestic Services, Northern Health and Social Care Trust

 “I think this must be my 16th HCA Conference/Forum. I particularly wanted to come this year because it is in Northern Ireland for the first time in 30 years – we’ve made the effort to go to England, Wales and Scotland in the past so it’s only fair that we should support the event here. There have been a lot of occasions [in past Conferences] where the number of Delegates in the hall has appeared to reduce over the two days but this year, since 11.00 a.m. on Day 1 when the Forum opened, the room has been full. It’s been of interest to everyone. I also think it was a good idea to hold the AGM in the morning [of Day 2]. I thought John Compton, who delivered the Keynote Address, was particularly good. It’s very difficult to go on first, but it was a great start and people must have thought that his address was so good [that it was worth staying for the rest of the Sessions]. The Forum is such a great opportunity to get Catering Managers all together under one roof and it’s ideal for the Suppliers who would otherwise struggle to try to visit so many customers and potential clients on their home ground. I’ve not really been to a bad HCA Conference – they’re all different as they focus on what’s happening in the industry at the time and that’s really useful to us all.”
Craig Hough, Catering Manager, Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Trust

“It’s been excellent. I have family roots here in Northern Ireland and it’s lovely to be able to come here again, thanks to the HCA Bursary, and then to be recognised by my peers and to receive the HCA Wilma Wilkie Award – I was well and truly ‘gobsmacked’. It’s been good to see how people operate [in our industry] over here. The organisation has been wonderful – everything has appeared seamless. Elsa and her team have done a wonderful job looking after us and putting together a fantastic programme – thought provoking but very relevant to our times.”
Chris Lay, former Facilities Manager, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust and winner of the 2017 HCA Wilma Wilkie Award

 “It’s lovely to be here is Belfast because it is 30 years since we last came across to the Province and the typical Irish warmth has come through. The fact that we can come here is very special because it shows that Belfast and the Provence has moved on a huge amount from when we were last here. The Europa is an iconic hotel and it has looked after us very well – the standard of food has been very good. The size of the auditorium here made a big difference because sometimes we tend to be in too a big a room – this feels like there’s been a big interest [in the proceedings] the whole time. The numbers of those attending the Sessions has been high throughout the two days which is a reflection of how good the content has been. I’m really pleased because prior to coming I thought the numbers were quite down on previous years. We did expect a bit of a push back [in terms of the number of attendees] because we’ve had to cross water, but the numbers came through in the end.”
Craig Smith, Head of Corporate Affairs, ISS Facility Services Healthcare and HCA Journal Editor

Trade/Exhibitor Feedback

“It’s lovely to be here and wonderful to see so many people. It’s so well attended. As normal, fantastically organised. The Presentations have generated a lot of interest – excellent Speakers - and it’s nice to see the Delegates taking time to come and see the Suppliers. As Secretary of the North West Branch I see the Forum from both sides [i.e. Supplier and Delegate] and from my point of view it’s been really, really useful.”
Ita Hicks, Regional Account Manager, Diversey Care and Secretary of the North West Branch of the HCA

“It’s my first time at an HCA Forum and so far it’s been very good. There was a slow start in terms of traffic coming through on Day 1, but I think the way they [the Organisers] corralled people at lunchtime and diverted them to each floor certainly helped. I’ve met some existing customers which is always a good thing but perhaps, more importantly, got about five appointments in the diary for new prospects. So, yes, it ended up being a good day and we’re hoping Day 2 will be more of the same. We’ve already booked for next year.”
Kim Peirson, Business Development Director, Synbiotix Solutions

“I think Fosters have been coming to HCA Conferences for about 30 years. It’s been excellent – a really good networking opportunity for us. Really well attended, well supported by our customers. Good footfall and we look forward to coming next year.”
Paul Holland, Regional Sales Manager, Foster Refrigerator

“It’s been really, really good. There have been more Delegates visiting our Stand than we thought there would be. Everyone’s polite, welcoming – it’s been a real pleasure to be here. We’ve picked up some good leads, which is what it’s all about, seen existing customers which has been nice and they appreciate the fact that we’re here. I’m glad we’re here – we would always support this event.”
Dylan Lloyd Jones, National Account Manager, NH Case

“I’ve been in my post for a year and this is my second HCA Forum. In terms of contacts that we’ve made this time – very similar to last year. It’s a great venue, though logistically it was a bit of a challenge getting our stuff here. Yesterday [Day 1] was a very worthwhile day for us, so we’re very happy. We don’t expect today to be quite as successful – we usually find the second day of an event like this to be a bit quiet, but it’s an opportunity to catch up on emails. The only thing that wasn’t great, from my point of view, was having a different venue for the President’s Dinner. Being bussed out somewhere after a long day, then having to be shipped back again – at that point a lot of people disappeared off into different pubs and I think that the opportunity to network in the hotel bar at that point was lost. But that’s my only criticism.”
Anita Carthew, Business Development Manager, Inhouse Manager

“We used to attend regularly but this is our first HCA event in about three years. We’ve gone through a bit of a turmoil as a business but we’re now back in the market place and we’re hoping to come back next year as well. It seems very similar to all the other Forums we’ve attended, but there’s probably more attendees walking about – the placing of the refreshments [on the Exhibition floors] has probably helped with that – but like all of these things, actually getting people on to your stands is a challenge, to say the least. Attending the evening dinners is a good place to meet people as well – a good ice-breaker – and I think that a dinner the night before the Forum opens would be useful to get people talking and ready for the days ahead. You’ve always got that issue where people may feel you’re being confrontational [i.e. when you approach them from your stand] whereas we just want to see what people’s interests are and if we can be of help, and if we’ve already had that contact in a social setting then it helps to break the ice.
Ashley Wright, Business Unit Manager, Swan Retail

"It’s been good – we’ve had an enjoyable few days, met a lot of old friends and some new ones. We’re regulars at this event. In terms of visitors to the stand, it’s been quieter than normal but we expected that because a lot of Suppliers wouldn’t travel – obviously the time and effort involved in coming to Northern Ireland would put them off and also a lot don’t supply this region. The majority of people coming around are from Northern Ireland, but as we do supply Ireland we’re happy to be here.”
Liam Moriarty, Key Account Manager, Socamel UK

“People are engaging quite well, lots of Catering Managers and decision makers are here and are asking lots of questions. It’s my first time [at a HCA Forum] but my colleague was here yesterday who attended last year and she said this event was a little bit quieter in comparison, but we feel it was well worth doing anyway.”
James Farrell, Foodservice Sales, Lakeland Dairies

“We last attended the HCA Conference when it was held at Celtic Manor in Newport [2013]. This year the show has been good in terms of building a rapport with people. As far as actual leads are concerned, it’s difficult to know exactly what will come out of it. The venue has been good, apart from the access – it was a bit tricky getting our stuff in – but overall it’s been a positive show for us. I was a little hesitant as to whether people would come up to see us at this level [Ballroom level] but it’s worked well for us, especially being so close to the Forum Hall. I expect we’ll be back next year – it will be a lot closer to home for us.”
Darryl Devenish, Director, Bridge Valley Beverages