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GM hospital becomes first to ban sugary food and drinks

GM hospital becomes first to ban sugary food and drinks

A Greater Manchester (GM) hospital has become the first in the country to ban sugary snacks and fizzy drinks.
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A Greater Manchester (GM) hospital has become the first in the country to ban sugary snacks and fizzy drinks.

Starting from January, Tameside Hospital’s restaurant will offer only sugar free drinks, including water, tea, coffee and milk, to its staff and visitors.

Karen James, Tameside’s chief executive, said: ‘My staff work very hard. Long hours and shift patterns often make it very difficult for people to make healthy choices, so they opt for the instant sweet fixes, which until today have been readily available.

‘These are dedicated healthcare professionals who believe they should be role models for their patients but the food environment has been working against them.’

Weight loss scheme

The ban follows the success of a 12-week Slimpod weight loss programme, which saw 100 members of staff taking part.

Mr Jones said that ‘to deliver high quality patient care, the NHS needs its staff to be healthy and well at work’.

She said: ‘There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that looking after the health and welfare of our colleagues directly contributes to the delivery of quality patient care.’

The Slimpod programme allows people to control what they eat by training the brain to develop the habit of choosing healthier food.

With the programme, the staff reduced their portion sizes, ate healthier meals and lost weight, the most successful person losing 13kg.

Obesity in the workforce

Researchers from Edinburgh Napier and London South Bank Universities recently found that one in four nurses in England are obese.

They argued that ‘widespread obesity among the workforce may hamper the efficacy of healthcare professionals’ health promotion efforts’, as the general population tend to look at the healthcare professional as role models.

Amanda Bromley, the hospital director responsible for staff wellbeing, said that obesity among staff ‘could be contributing to high staff sickness levels and heaping more pressure on the health service’.

She said: ‘Obesity related illness is taking an increasing toll on the NHS, as almost half of nurses are over the age of 45.

‘The figures are deeply worrying and long, stressful shifts often made it hard for staff to make healthy choices.

‘I believe by listening to colleagues and being guided by the results of the staff weight loss experiment we are showing that things can change.’

Health minister Steve Brine applauded the hospital for its ‘forward thinking’.

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