The NHS is banning sugary drinks from being sold in hospital shops from the beginning of next year, it has been announced today.
Retailers including WH Smiths, Marks & Spencer, Greggs, the SUBWAY® brand, Medirest, ISS and the Royal Voluntary Service have said they will cut sales of sugary drinks to 10% or less of their total drinks sales in hospitals over the coming year.
NHS England estimates that of their 1.3m staff members, nearly 700,000 are overweight or obese.
The NHS has already cut all price promotions on sugary drinks and foods high in fat, sugar or salt, ended advertisements of these foods on NHS premises, and ensured healthy food options are available at all times.
However, the NHS has said they are now looking to build on that by making sure 60% of confectionary stocked do not exceed 250 kcal and 60% of pre-packed meals contain 400 kcal or less per serving and do not exceed five grams of saturated fat per 100g.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: ‘A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but spoonfuls of added sugar day-in, day-out mean serious health problems.
‘It’s great that following discussion with NHS England, big name retailers are agreeing to take decisive action, which helps send a powerful message to the public and NHS staff about the link between sugar and obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.’
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said the cut backs on sugary drinks is ‘great news’ as diabetics ‘find it difficult to manage their condition’ in hospital.
He said: ‘They may rely on a sugary drink to treat their hypos, which is when blood sugar levels go too low due to diabetes medication.
‘With this plan people with diabetes should still have access to products that are commonly used to treat hypos.’