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Mark’s Story

Why swapping hotels for hospitals offers so much more

Mark Greene joined HCA UK as a Head Chef after years working in hotels. Fast forward 22 years and he’s Group Director of Hotel Services. And keen to tell everyone what a great opportunity moving from hotels to our hospitals can be.

How did your career at HCA UK begin?

I started with HCA UK 22 years ago. I was 23 years old and took a job at The Lister Hospital as Head Chef. Before this, I’d been working in hotels doing 80-90 hours a week.

I’d worked my way up to Senior Sous Chef and, at that time, I was enjoying life. Then, one day, an old Operations Director who had moved to HCA, phoned me up and asked if I wanted to join. I asked why I’d want to work in a hospital, making hospital food. He said, “It’s like a good hotel restaurant. And you’ll get freedom to do what you want.” I had another offer on the table but took a chance on this one.

How have you developed since?

It was a steep learning curve when I joined The Lister Hospital. I was the youngest in the kitchen and the Head Chef. It meant I learned and progressed quickly. After a few years, I became Catering Manager as well as Head Chef and on took Front of House too. From there I became Hotel Services Manager, H&S Lead, and Business Continuity Lead for the hospital.

In 2013, our CEO, John Reay, asked me to become Hotel Services Manager at the London Bridge hospital. That led to a role as the Group’s Hotel Services Lead and then Director of Hotel Services, which is the role I’m in today.

Why have you stayed so long?

I’ve been continually challenged at HCA UK and I’m forever grateful for everything they’ve done to help me develop. It’s not just that they invest in your skills, but they look after you too. If you’re willing to put the work in, they’ll help you go far. The current Head of Hotel Services in Birmingham, for example, started as a concierge with us 11 years ago.

What’s your vision for hotel services at HCA UK?

I want us to be the best at what we do. I know we’re already very good, but I’m determined to show that the food and service in our hospitals can be as good as any five-star hotel.

That’s the ambition, but we get there by creating an environment that’s all about learning, growing and investing in people. I want us to grow our own talent, invest time in our people, and give them the opportunities to excel. While I want us all to strive for excellence, we spend a third of our lives at work. So, it needs to be fun and fulfilling for people too.

Why should someone with hospitality experience want to work in a hospital?

I had the same thought as most people before joining HCA UK. I thought I would be bored cooking in a hospital, that there’d be no room to learn. I couldn’t have been more wrong but that’s the reputation hospital kitchens still have.

What’s unique about working in private healthcare is that it has the same feel as a high-end hotel but you get so many more development opportunities. Opportunities like management courses, which can help you advance your career.

Give us three reasons why someone should join HCA UK hotel services

First, we’re focused on quality. We invest in the equipment, ingredients and resources to produce the best food possible. Of course, we have to be efficient, but our priority is making sure everyone has the tools to do their job to the highest standards.

Second, the environment. Many hotels are cut-throat, high-pressure places. Here there’s a lot of fun and creativity. There’s more stability and structure around your days, which many people like. And it’s caring. Everyone wants to help you learn and achieve your best.

Finally, the sense of good you’re doing for others. Every patient we encounter is going through something different and through the food or service we provide, we’re helping to make them feel better. That’s a great purpose to be part of.

Careers in Hotel Services

Porter Other Non-clinical Full time Read more and apply Ward Host/ Patient Support Worker HCA UK at UCH – London Non-clinical Full time Read more and apply Receptionist HCA Primary Care – London Non-clinical Full time Read more and apply Sous Chef HCA UK at The Christie Private Care – Manchester, Greater Manchester Non-clinical Full time Read more and apply Part Time Catering Assistant HCA UK at The Wilmslow Hospital – Wilmslow, Cheshire Non-clinical Part time Read more and apply Catering Assistant Portland Hospital – London Non-clinical Full time Read more and apply