How private firm aims to keep our hospitals in shape
Hospital food, cleaning and car parking are all top of the agenda for Maria Kitching.
She is the woman who took charge of the facilities management of the city's three hospitals and 550 other NHS buildings yesterday.
You name it, Ms Kitching, director of operations and strategic direction for private company Interserve, is probably in charge of it.
Her portfolio includes making sure there is water and heating, along with catering, cleaning, portering, security, car parking, waste management and even printing, as well as building maintenance.
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Interserve has won a seven- year contract, worth about £300million, to look after about 550 NHS buildings across Leicestershire and Rutland.
About 2,000 people from the NHS and other private companies have been transferred to Interserve.
Ms Kitching said: "One of the first things we will be doing is to carry out a survey of all the NHS buildings to make sure they are fit for purpose and how much of the space in each is actually being used.
"Our job is to provide the best support services that we can to the clinical services.
"At the moment, there are several different providers and by having one company we can improve things by having a consistent standard."
She will be in charge of making sure about 9,000 meals are delivered to hospital patients across Leicestershire and Rutland each day.
All but very specialist meals are pre-prepared before arriving at the hospitals.
Ms Kitching said: "We do know the provenance of the food and make sure that we can go out and do our own audits so that we are confident we know we can trace the source of products."
Work has already begun to put in new menus and special diet chiefs have been appointed to each of the city's three main hospitals.
They will have their own kitchen area and will work with dieticians to prepare specialist meals for patients who need them.
Training is also under way on a new scheme in which staff will visit patients a couple of hours before each meal to take their order. Ms Kitching will also be responsible for parking at city hospitals, but said she could not promise to ease congestion at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
She said: "I would love to have a magic wand but we need time to understand how things in the city work and what the hospital plans are in the future."
Ms Kitching said: "There won't be many visible changes in the first three months of our contract. We do want it very much to be business as usual.
"One of the few changes people will notice is staff have new uniforms. This is a really exciting opportunity and we will be working closely with everyone to make sure we get the best service for patients over the next few months."