A caterer who cares – Debbie is our NHS Hero

When Debbie Worrall (46) from Kingswinford joined catering college aged 16, she could never have imagined that it would lead to such a rewarding career.

After leaving college and working in a variety of roles, Debbie secured a catering supervisor role at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMH) and has now served the Trust for 21 years.

Now in the role of catering manager, Debbie is responsible for overseeing the catering at Bushey Fields, Dorothy Pattison and Bloxwich Hospitals.

“I love my job,” smiled Debbie.

“I take great pride in working for the NHS – patient needs are very important – we ensure that we provide healthy and nutritious meals to aid them in their recovery.

“We always treat patients as individuals and ensure their dietary requirements are met – they love to come and chat to the catering team which is really nice.”

Recently, the catering team were named as the winners of support service of the year at the Trust’s Recognising Success Awards, and Debbie was a runner-up in the leading with integrity category – something which she states as the highlight of her career.

“I was a runner-up two years ago, so to be named as a finalist again this year was amazing. I was obviously pleased with my individual nomination – but I was so delighted for the team – and even more so for them to be crowned as winners.

“They really deserve this recognition, and I feel very lucky to be part of such a wonderful team,” she continued.

She also attended the HSJ Awards held in London this month, which recognises brilliant work in healthcare.

“It was a very special evening which I’ll never forget,” said Debbie.

Debbie has recently achieved a merit in Level 4 Managing Food Safety in Catering, and her next challenge moving forward will be to support the catering department through the Trust’s proposed merger with Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and any changes that may arise during this time.

“We’re also busy preparing all things Christmas at the moment; including festive menus and parties for the wards. It’s important to us that we make our patients’ stay over this period as enjoyable as possible.

“It’s rewarding to know that by providing an excellent catering service, we can make a big difference to staff, patients and visitors,” said Debbie.

Outside of work, Debbie is a member of the High Acres Woodcraft Folk, which her daughter also attends. They organise several outdoor activities every year for 5-18 year olds, visiting hostels and also using their campsite at Kinver.

Alongside this, she is also an Aston Villa supporter, and loves to go away with her family to cottages and caravans all over the UK.

“Family time is really important to me, and we love to get away and explore new places together.

“My family are definitely my heroes; they are always on hand to support and encourage me in whatever I do,” Debbie added.

Debbie’s mental health message: “Never be afraid to ask for help. There are always people available – it’s good to talk!”