Skip to main content


Published on 11 November 2020

Catering services in NHS Scotland

NHSS Catering services provide around 17 million patient meals each year and employ over 2,000 staff.

Health boards produce food for patients using a variety of food production methods. These include:

  • Traditional cooking on site
  • Cook/freeze
  • Cook/chill
  • Sourcing food direct from the supply chain.

Health boards also provide catering facilities for staff and visitors. Aroma coffee shops, an NHSS brand, operate in many hospitals. There are also staff and visitor dining areas, retail outlets and vending.

Download the Annual Performance Report for NHSScotland Catering Services

Safe and compliant

Health boards have a legal obligation to comply with food safety legislation. To do this, Boards must develop robust Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans. These plan are based on guidance in the NHSS National Food Safety Manual. They are also key in helping reduce all possible food safety risks to patients and staff across NHSScotland.

Download the National Food Safety Manual

Download the National Catering Production Strategy

Providing nutrition

To meet required nutrition standards, health boards must:

  • Apply guidance contained within the Scottish Government’s Food in Hospitals document
  • Implement the Food, Fluid and Nutritional Care Standards.

The Food in Hospitals document provides information on standards for nutritional care and nutrient and food provision for hospital patients. The document also helps boards provide a catering service which promotes healthy balanced diets for patients, staff and visitors to their hospitals.

Download the Food in Hospitals Document

Get in touch

For more information about NHSS catering services, please email