HCA chair calls for ‘fair and equal’ rollout of proposed hospital sugary drinks ban

09/11/2016 - 09:45
Phil Shelley, national chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), has responded to this morning’s proposed ban on sugary drink sales in hospitals, calling for any rollout plans to be treated ‘fairly and equally throughout the NHS’.

A consultation has been launched by NHS England, which could see measures introduced, such as a ban on sugary drinks or a new fee that would be paid by vendors, to help tackle obesity.

The HCA chair, Phil Shelley said: “We ask that decisions made from the consultation are rolled out fairly and equally throughout the NHS estate including external retailers. Our members have first-hand experience of losing vital income when tax levy’s such as a sugary drinks tax have been imposed on NHS caterers but not on other retailers within the same environment. Income they simply cannot afford to lose and which they need to provide a safe and healthy service. These decisions have often worked against the catering teams and unfortunately patient feeding can suffer from income reduction.

“The issue of sugar consumption is complex. A lot of excellent work has been achieved over the last ten years with patient food. As an organisation we have reached out to complementary professionals such as dietitians and nurses to ensure that the catering approach is a truly 360degree approach, always seeking to put the patients individual needs first.

“As NHS England now turns it focus to the wellbeing of its staff and visitors, our member insight from over 400 NHS caterers’ nationwide consistently demonstrate the CQUIN targets are easier to manage and achieve if the catering is in-house. Catering is currently approximately evenly split with 50% in-house and 50% external retailers or suppliers, in order to help improve wellbeing with visitor and staff caterers will need to take back control of the whole catering service, from ingredient to consumption.

“The HCA recognises that the provision of catering to night staff within the NHS is currently at a disconnect with the other types of catering services and any new measures to help reconnect an affordable and practical solution for these valuable members of staff is welcome.

“Along with CQUIN updates we believe that this consultation is only the start of the work required to improve visitors and staff nutrition. We have to recognise the differing nutritional and energy needs of staff working long shifts and unsociable hours and provide something that is suitable. Alongside tax’s and bans, some serious innovation is going to be required to meet these needs.”

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