HOSPITAL catering staff from South Lakeland and north Lancashire will appear on national television next week.

The work of kitchen teams at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust will feature on ‘Operation Hospital Food’ alongside celebrity chef James Martin.

The series will run each day next week and the final episode will focus on the chef’s visit to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, last November.

Head chef at Furness General Hospital, Andy Bickle, spent a day with the Saturday Morning Kitchen star last autumn and was inspired to create some new recipes to improve the food offered to patients, staff and the public in the trust’s restaurants.

He said: ““It was an extremely interesting day and there were a lot of suggestions that he made that we can look at within the catering team. But what it did do was reinforce that a lot of what we do here are the right things to do.

“It was a long day but extremely worthwhile, and we hope that what we bring back and introduce will receive good feedback from everybody.”

Mr Martin said: “Coming to visit Andy at the Lancaster Royal Infirmary was fantastic! The fact that he’d taken on board all of my ideas that he’d learnt at the Cookery School and then went back to his trust to spread the word was exactly what I’d hoped would happen.

“It was great to meet up with the catering team who were all very receptive to my thoughts and practices to try and improve hospital food nationally. If every NHS Trust was as proactive as Morecambe Bay, then it would go a long way to transforming the standard of hospital food throughout the country.”

Since the filming Andy has presented his experience to the Trust Board, and the trust is now planning new menus based on the experience he underwent. The chief executive of NHS employers, Dean Royles, added his praise to the project.

He said: “As a Yorkshire man myself, it’s great to see James Martin giving his time and expertise to the NHS, but this initiative is much more than that.

“It really highlights the central role that our support staff play in ensuring the best possible care and experience for patients. Those of us that work in the NHS know just how much our frontline staff rely on those who work behind the scenes, in our kitchens, laboratories, workshops and pharmacies. It’s great to see that recognised on TV too.”

Juliet Walters, chief operating officer for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am delighted that Andy’s work, and the work of our catering teams, will be showcased in this way. Their contribution towards our core principle of providing quality services - of which food play a significant part - deserves to be recognised.”