Domestic services

Domestic services staff make sure hospitals are clean, comfortable places and prepare and serve food for patients and staff.

Food and catering

Food is an important part of patient care. Patients who stay in hospital are happier with hot delicious food and get better if fed well. Food can be part of the treatment, too, for patients on special diets. So food has to be nutritious, inviting and served on time. Hospital staff need to eat as well, so many hospitals have a staff restaurant. Some also have a café where visitors can get hot drinks and snacks.

Roles include:

Keeping things clean

It’s also important that hospitals and clinics are kept clean. This makes them welcoming places for patients to be treated and stops infection spreading. You could work in:

Hospitals rely on domestic services round the clock so working in domestic services means working shifts. Early starts in particular are needed so that breakfasts are ready on time and offices and corridors are cleaned ready for the day’s work.

You can often enter domestic services jobs with few or no qualifications. Once in the job, you will be encouraged to take qualifications. This will help you progress, if that’s what you want. You could become a team leader looking after a team of assistants. Managers in catering, domestic services or linen services often start as assistants.

If you already have a qualification and experience from elsewhere in, for example, catering or hotel services, you could join the NHS as an assistant manager or manager.

Wherever you work in domestic services at whatever level, customer service is the focus. Many domestic services assistants have contact with patients as they deliver food or clean linen to wards. You could use your customer service experience to help make patients’ hospital visits more pleasant.

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