Summary by Denise Cruickshank

The Queensland Health Statewide Foodservice Workshop was held on Wednesday 13th May, 2014 at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and was a great success. Over 120 people attended and feedback via evaluation questionnaires and emails forwarded after was excellent in that everyone rated the workshop as either excellent or good on a 5 point scale (excellent to terrible). There were 19 presentations over 2 concurrent programs with one workshop on achieving both facility goals for fooservice and DAA competencies using foodservice students. Many people said they would have liked to go to all presentations instead of having to choose between them.

We had over 40 people from outside Queensland Health attend including 9 from interstate. The range of topics allowed those who had in interest in aged care, private hospital foodservices and innovative foodservice initiatives to be able to attend sessions that were relevant over the whole day. The Queensland Health attendees could choose from a range of Queensland Health relevant presentations as well as the more generic topics. The session on contestability was particularly mentioned as very useful for the Queensland Health attendees.

The workshop was a mix of participants with 36 dietitians and 12 dietetic students from both UQ & QUT. A total of 42 foodservices staff attended including 13 operational services managers or coordinators, 10 food services managers, 17 cooks/chefs, 2 operational services officers and 2 diet monitors. In addition, 3 speech pathologists and 11 industry partners attended in addition to the speakers. From Queensland Health, 14 of the 16 Health and Hospital Services were represented which is outstanding considering that there is no longer funding from Statewide Foodservices to support people to attend as for previous workshops. Interestingly, there were 8 dietitian-foodservice managers who attended the workshop, 7 of these from Queensland Health and Carmel Lazarus from St. Vincent’s Hospital in NSW.

Presentation attendance was fairly evenly distributed over the day and evaluation showed that the 3 topics that participants found most relevant were the presentations on the Nutrition Standards/Aged Care, Contestability and Information Management Systems in Foodservice. There were a range of topics identified for future workshops including menu development, Food Safety audit tools, allergen management and research in foodservices, so WATCH THIS SPACE!


Denise Cruickshank

Currently I am employed as the Dietitian-Consultant in Statewide Foodservices, Advice and Coordination Unit, Queensland Health and am responsible for coordinating development of foodservice policy and standards for the state. My role includes liaising with dietitian-nutritionists and foodservices managers, coordinators and corporate services managers around the state to support and drive the implementation of the endorsed Food & Nutrition Directive (Qld Health) and Nutrition Standards for Meals and Menus, managing statewide food contracts and sourcing and supporting foodservice training for a variety of staff in Queensland Health. I have just taken on the role of Chair of the Dietitian-Nutritionist Strategic Coalition which is a Statewide Group of Dietitian leaders from both Queensland Health, the not for profit and education sectors. This will provide an opportunity to influence and drive the role of dietitians within foodservices across the health continuum in addition to other initiatives.

Contestability Key Performance Indicators

Food and Nutrition Safety Directive


Susan Tench

Susan Tench is a dietitian who works clinically and in food service at The Townsville Hospital.  Susan graduated in 2012 from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) with a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics and received a Faculty Commendation for Academic Excellence and is a member of USC Golden Key Honors Society.  Susan has been able to apply her business acumen gained from 15+ years experience in a corporate environment to her dietetic role.  This has seen her managing a number of strategic projects and being active at a statewide level in the areas of oral nutrition support and food service.   Susan loves the challenges of a diverse workload – “it keeps life interesting as you never know what you may have to deal with”.  To someone who is just starting in their career Susan advises them to listen, learn and ask lots of questions to build a solid foundation and look at every challenge as an opportunity to learn.  Susan’s interesting fact is that she has recently gained her residency to stay in Australia and is thrilled.

Productive wards

Single menu for rural food services – is it possible?



Juli Donnelly

Juli Donnelly was born in Sydney and has had a diverse working career which included waiting table, office work, nursing, cooking for a private hospital and nursing homes in Brisbane and Sydney.  Juli has had more than 5 years’ experience as a cook and site manager for a large catering company in Sydney and a bakery chain in Brisbane and has obtained Trade Recognition in Professional Cookery.

Juli graduated from QUT in 2002 with a Bachelor of Health Science – Nutrition and Dietetics and commenced work at Redland Hospital in 2003 as a clinical and foodservice dietitian. In 2008 Juli accepted a 12 month secondment to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital as a Team Leader responsible for 24 dietetic assistants, 2 supervisors and a small team of clinical dietitians. She returned to Redland Hospital in 2010 and backfilled the Director role for 9 months. Juli has covered a number of clinical areas including medical, surgical, cardiac, women and birthing, rehabilitation, mental health, acquired brain injury and residential aged care. With her catering background, it’s not surprising that Juli also enjoys working closely with the foodservice team. What she likes most about her role is its diversity.

Between 2009 and 2011, Juli was actively involved with a dedicated team of dietitians and foodservice managers in developing the Queensland Health Nutrition Standards for Meals and Menus.

If Juli could provide one tip to people starting their carer, it would be to really listen to your clients, colleagues and stakeholders and hear what they are telling you (and sometimes what they’re not telling you). Actively listen, ask questions, seek clarification and know there are often many layers to an issue and many more if the issue is a complex one. By hearing the person you are more likely to respond in a meaningful way, gain respect and build strong working partnerships.

In her spare time, Juli enjoys gardening, cooking and travelling with her husband.

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Adrienne Young
Adrienne is a senior dietitian at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. She graduated from her B of Health Sci from QUT in 2004, and has worked in several large hospitals in Brisbane. It was her work with elderly hospital patients that prompted her to dip her toes into research in 2007, when she was given the opportunity to work as a research assistant on the HUNGER study to examine the factors associated with poor intake in these patients (a question she’d been asking herself on the wards for years!). This then led to her PhD (completed in 2013) which compared different ways of providing nutrition and mealtime care for older patients while in hospital, including extra nursing assistance and protected mealtimes. This research has been of interest nationally and internationally, with Adrienne being awarded the New Researcher Award at ICD in 2012.
I’m currently working on the Hospital to Home Outreach for Malnourished Elders project as well as continuing at RBWH in a clinical role. A typical day for me would involve liaising with my research assistants to ensure that subject recruitment is on track, meeting with Dietitians at RBWH and TPCH to support them in delivering the new HHOME outreach model of care, assessing and providing nutrition care to inpatients on the medical ward, working on dept and hospital-wide quality improvement activities focused on malnutrition management.
Adrienne enjoys the diversity, mix of clinical, foodservice and research of her role. I think that all hospital Dietitians should be involved in foodservices (how else do we ensure that our patients meet their nutritional reqt whilst in hospital?) and research (how else do we know if our practice is effective and efficient?).
I didn’t deliberately set out to become a “foodservice dietitian”. As I gained experience as a clinical dietitian, I realised that my power to help my patients was only as good as the foodservice system – if it wasn’t working for the patient, then it was difficult for me to be an effective dietitian.
Michelle Suter - head shot - 2012
Michelle Suter
For the last 5 years I have worked as a foodservice manager and head of the dietetic department at Caboolture Hospital in northern Brisbane. Prior to this I worked in both foodservice and clinical roles at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospital and The Park Centre for Mental Health (formerly Wolston Park Hospital).    I haves been actively involved in a number of state and national foodservice projects including the development of standard terminology and definitions for texture modified foods and fluids, piloting of the Certificate training for Dietetic Assistants and the development of Queensland Health Nutrition Standards for meals and menus.
sally profile
Sally McCray
I have been the Director of Nutrition and Dietetics at Mater Health Services, Brisbane since 2001. The Mater Hospitals group currently includes adults, maternity and paediatric public and private hospitals at South Brisbane and Redlands. I have worked within clinical dietetics for the past 20 years in a number of hospitals throughout Queensland as well as in Canada. I have had experience working within a number of different healthcare foodservice production and delivery models as well as in restaurant and hotel foodservice environments. In 2013 one of the Mater Hospitals group, Mater Private Hospital, implemented room service as their patient foodservice model, the first of its kind in Australia. Like most Dietitians, I am passionate about providing good nutrition to patients within the healthcare setting whilst maintaining a strong customer focus and ensuring patient engagement and satisfaction in the provision of food and nutrition as a part of their treatment.
Carmel Lazarus
Carmel has a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. She is currently in a dual role – Acting Director of Allied Health and Food Service Manager for St Vincent’s Health Australia, Darlinghurst and has worked for the past 20 years in clinical dietetics, food services, and private practice in Australia and overseas. She has been a lecturer at The University of Sydney and a consultant to community groups and industry on food safety and menu planning and assessment.  She has a keen interest in maximising good nutrition through effective food and nutrition systems.
Bianca Neaves
I graduated 10 years ago and spent initial 6 years working in corporate health and wellness, and then management of clinics providing multi-disciplinary weight management programs. Started at TPCH in clinical dietetics and foodservice about 4 years ago and have never looked back. Have more recently been focussing on paediatric clinical nutrition and foodservice management which is an area I am really enjoying. Married with two young children (4 years and 16 months) and my family are wonderfully supportive of my career for which I am very thankful.
I am currently acting in a role that is split between 0.5FTE Clinical Dietetic Team Leader, and 0.5FTE Food Services Team Leader which can be an interesting and busy mix! Every day is different for me. Yesterday I spent my morning in the kitchen, arranging to purchase new serving utensils with our storeman, and developing training materials as we are rolling out some recommendations to improve our serve size accuracy. Next I supervised a menu monitor conduct some of her meal selection practices at ward level as part of her assessment and training, to ensure adequate clinical nutrition knowledge and application of theory. I answered email enquiries and did routine management tasks. In the afternoon I was delivering clinical nutrition to paediatric patients and their families in outpatient clinic.
I really enjoy building a close relationship between Dietetics and Food Service. There are so many outcomes for patients that are only realised when the two departments work as a team and towards a common goal. I choose to be a Dietitian because I have always loved good food and wanted to help people. Dietetics is a profession that demonstrates caring, is evidence-based and commits to excellence. I also love project management, and so foodservice projects always interested me. I was fortunate enough to be able to lead some foodservice projects within my clinical dietetic position at TPCH, and am now currently acting in a food service and dietetic management role. The patient outcomes that can be achieved through menu redesign and meal delivery can be very powerful.
My number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics/food service is together everyone achieves more. Don’t be afraid to engage as many stakeholders as you can in projects to ensure communication, ownership of the process and sustainable outcomes. Their input will be immeasurable. And never forget who you are doing this all for every day… the patient.
An interesting fact about me is that I am also a Marriage Celebrant! (In all my spare time…)
Robyn Littlewood
Dr Robyn Littlewood is currently the Director of the Dietetics and Food Services Department, Royal Children’s Hospital and the Professional Lead for all nutrition and dietetics-related services within Children’s Health Queensland and has been recently appointed as the Professional Lead and Director, Dietetics and Food Services, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Children’s Health Queensland.
Dr Littlewood holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position with the Queensland University of Technology and has completed both a Masters of Medical Science and PhD in the area of Paediatric Nutrition.
Dr Littlewood currently holds the Chair, for the Queensland Health Nutrition and Dietetics Statewide governance group, Dietitian and Nutritionist Strategic Coalition and Chairs the National Paediatric Dietetic Management Group and has held several editorial board membership positions in the area of paediatric dietetics and has published many international papers in the area of paediatric nutrition and rehabilitation, chronic disease and head injury.
Dr Littlewood continues to maintain a clinical position in the Paediatric ICU and maintains special interests in the area of paediatric obesity and neonatal nutrition.

Statewide Foodservice workshop-program-2014-1

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