latest health care news


Sugary drinks could be banned in hospital shops next year

Sugary drinks will be banned in hospitals if retailers do not cut down the number that are sold over the next year, NHS England has today warned.

The news follows NHS England CEO Simon Stevens announcing last year that measures would be introduced as part of a national NHS health drive.

Retailers selling the beverages in hospitals will have to reduce sales to 10% less of their total drinks sales within 12 months or unhealthy drinks could be removed from hospitals entirely.

A number of key suppliers working in hospitals including WH Smith, M&S, Greggs, and Subway have all pledged to cut sales of the drinks in a pledge to promote a healthy lifestyle in NHS buildings.

On top of that, from April 2017 NHS England has said it will introduce national incentives for hospitals and other providers to boost the amount of health food found on their premises.

NHS England has also told shops to ensure that 60% of confectionery and sweets stocked do not exceed 250kcal by April next year, rising to 80% of products in 2018-19.

Stevens said the move was a great step forward and that he was glad retailers had agreed to take decisive action to send a strong message to the public about the link between sugar and obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

“A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but spoonfuls of added sugar day-in, day-out mean serious health problems,” Stevens warned.

However, the measures are not in place just to improve the eating habits of patients, but also for the good of NHS staff. Of the 1.3 million people employed by the organisation, 700,000 are estimated to be overweight or obese, something which has a serious impact on staff absences and has the knock-on effect of harming the credibility of staff giving advice to patients.

Katherine Button, Campaign for Better Hospital Food co-ordinator, added: “We are delighted that NHS England has taken such decisive action to reduce the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals.

“Earlier this year, our Healthy Hospital Food Brand League table showed that when NHS England sets clear targets, and companies are held to account, then hospital food retailers respond.”

BMA – NHS England must go one step further

However, the BMA stated that though the move was a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough in improving eating habits in the nation’s hospitals.

“These unhealthy drinks have no place in the NHS which is supposed to encourage, and improve, health and wellbeing,” said Professor Parveen Kumar, who is the chair of the BMA’s board of science.

“Selling sugary drinks in hospitals sends mixed messages to patients and visitors, especially children and young people,” she added.

Prof Kumar stated that it was important to promote the wellbeing of staff, who were so stretched on site that they had to use on-site vending machines to stave off hunger on the move.

“I would like to see the NHS go one step further and extend this decision to include all unhealthy food and snacks sold in hospitals, with a sugar content over a specific amount per 100 grams, to help further promote healthy eating,” she said.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.


Margaret   21/04/2017 at 15:28

I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2016. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally I began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn't right and began to do lots of research. Then I found Lisa’s diabetes story I read that article from end to end because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100 and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70's and the 80's. My doctor took me off the metformin after just three week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds and 6+ inches around my waist in a month. The truth is we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Foreign patient charges are a distraction from the real issues

Foreign patient charges are a distraction from the real issues

Vivek Kotecha, research officer at the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI), explains why the charging of foreign patients distracts from our home-grown NHS issues.  The Depart more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


A single approach for purchasing HCTEDs

11/04/2017A single approach for purchasing HCTEDs

Andy Leary, finance director of specialised commissioning (National) at NHS... more >
Filling the void and standardising security

07/04/2017Filling the void and standardising security

Jayne King, chair of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS... more >


Tight timetable for nursing associate  regulation

28/03/2017Tight timetable for nursing associate regulation

Jackie Smith, chief executive at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), t... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Labour’s pledge to raise wages for ‘underpaid and overworked’ NHS staff

26/04/2017Labour’s pledge to raise wages for ‘underpaid and overworked’ NHS staff

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth will today outline a major campaign pledge to axe the NHS pay cap, saying that staff are “underpaid and overworked”. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar


April 2017

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

editor's comment

22/03/2017New additions and unexpected announcements

As NHE went to press, many of us were still recovering from the chancellor’s unexpected health announcements in his last Spring Budget.   While the sector welcomed Philip Hammond’s revelations, centered on capital funding for advanced sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) and A&E triage schemes (page 24), the government failed to address the funding gap still facing the NHS.   Even the £2bn social care windfall, which Treasury has... read more >