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In March, we spoke to Jenny Saxton, Specialist Senior Patient Experience Manager at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Jenny looks after over 100 staff to ensure that every patient in the hospital is fed nutritious food. Jenny was shortlisted for a Women in Construction and Engineering award last year for the outstanding work she does.  

Who are you and what do you do?  

I am the Specialist Senior Patient Experience Manager for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I have worked for Bouygues E&S Solutions for three years since the contract started, but I have been in my role within the NHS foundation for 25 years.  

My main responsibilities are to ensure that my team delivers every meal and drink to every patient in the hospital. My team serves around 70,000 meals and around 350,000 hot or cold drinks every month. I work closely with the client to ensure that the food we provide is varied and follows the hydration and nutritional policy for the Trust.  

How is your team structured?  

There are six Patient Experience Managers (PEMs) in total: three shift PEMs, two audit PEMs and a stores PEM. Between them, they organise shifts, collect helpdesk job cards, ensure kitchen cleanliness and manage stock.  

The rest of the team is made up of ward hosts. Ward hosts reheat the food in the kitchens on the wards and deliver the meals to the patients.  

How has COVID-19 impacted your team?  

One of the biggest impacts on our department was the changes to the menu. In a typical year we change the menu twice, however during the pandemic we had to adapt the menu four times in six months because of stock shortages with our suppliers. At one point, they were unable to source any type of pasta, so we needed to change the dishes quickly. This was a massive task. As a safety net, we now store seven days of stock in case the suppliers are unable to deliver.  

On top of this, the team was often down in numbers due to illness or self-isolation. With social distancing in place, we were unable to train enough new starters to cover the shifts, so I liaised with the Trust dietician to create a high-calory cold meal for patients, thus reducing the number of staff required.  

How do you work with the client?  

The Domestics and Portering team meet with the Trust on a weekly basis to go through their failure reports and mitigations. For the Catering Department, I prepare everything online and send to the client for review. We have a very good working relationship with our client at the NHS Trust.  

For me, it’s important to have clear communication and complete honesty so they understand any pressures we’re under.  

Have you been doing any charity work or volunteering recently?  

In January, the hospital charity approached us to see if we could help to provide some care packages to the NHS staff within the hospital as a small token to boost morale. Every two weeks, we order a number of products and my team delivers them to the wards and staff rooms around the hospital. The team really enjoys delivering these packages.  

How did you feel about being shortlisted in the Women in Construction and Engineering (WICE) Awards in 2020?  

I didn’t know WICE existed before being nominated, so to be recognised by a Senior Manager was amazing! After being nominated, I filled in an application with my achievements. Something I’m most proud of in my role is being the first person within Oxfordshire’s NHS foundation Trust to implement a children’s menu in the hospital.  

To be recognised by the Company was incredible. That’s what I love about Bouygues E&S, it’s the personable people and how even the most Senior Managers care about you as an individual and recognise the work you do. 

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