Billy Cunningham

Billy Cunningham

NHS Hospital Food, an Insiders Tale

During his presentation, Billy will give a brief history of hospital food over the past 100 years, then bring it up-to-date discussing recent developments and national reviews. Billy has 25 years NHS experience as both head of catering and service improvement consultancy.


Before retiring in 2013, Billy Cunningham had a successful 25 year career as a NHS catering executive.

A fully qualified hotel chef, he twice competed in the final of the prestigious “Scottish Chef of the Year” competition.  Joining the NHS in 1984, he was subsequently appointed head of catering when Ayr Hospital first opened in October 1991.

Following fast-track career progression, Billy was appointed head of catering for all Acute Hospitals in his native Ayrshire, when the North and South Hospital Trusts merged in 1999.

In September 2003 he was appointed head of catering for Hull & East Yorkshire Acute Hospitals Trust, where he was tasked with bringing all catering services back in-house from the private sector.  In 2008 he chose to become a self-employed consultant specialising in NHS catering solutions.

Throughout his NHS career, Billy earned a reputation for developing and implementing improvement in all areas of NHS catering service provision.

He was also known for his innovative approach in maximising retail catering income.

A keen sports enthusiast, Billy enjoys golf, soccer, lawn bowls and many other sports.