NHS England to ban sales of sugary drinks at hospitals

09/11/2016 - 10:22
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has announced details of a new plan to reduce the sales and consumption of sugary drinks sold in hospitals.

A consultation has been launched, which could see England become the first country in the world to take action across its health service in this way, according to NHS England.

NHS England hopes to tackle obesity with measures such as a new fee to be paid by vendors, or alternatively seeks views on an outright ban.

Speaking at the ukactive National Summit, Simon Stevens, said: "Confronted by rising obesity, type 2 diabetes and child dental decay, it's time for the NHS to practice what we preach. Nurses, visitors and patients all tell us they increasingly want healthy, tasty and affordable food and drink options.

“So like a number of other countries we're now calling time on hospitals as marketing outlets for junk food and fizzy drinks. By ploughing the proceeds of any vendor fees back into staff health and patient charities these proposals are a genuine win/win opportunity to both improve health and cut future illness cost burdens for the NHS."

The proposal for levying a fee or banning sugary drinks would begin as early as next year, which would be sooner than the government’s proposed sugar tax, according to NHS England. Proceeds from the fee would be used directly to fund expanded local staff health and wellbeing programmes and/or the trust's patient charities.

The consultation will ask for the views of patients, carers, NHS staff, the public and suppliers and will close on January 18th when feedback will be considered and a decision taken about how this should be taken forward into the NHS standard contract.

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