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09.01.18

Greater Manchester hospital becomes county’s first to ban sugary food and drinks

Tameside General Hospital has become the first in the country to implement a ban on sugary food and drinks today in an effort to promote healthier living.

From now on, the on-site restaurant at the hospital has begun to swap sugary snacks for other foods and will only sell tea, coffee, milk, sugar-free drinks and water.

It follows a 12-week weight-loss programme last year initiated by the chief executive of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT, in an effort to battle obesity among hospital staff.

The news comes in the wake of comments from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens in the last few days, in which he reaffirmed the organisations commitment to removing sugary foodstuffs from hospitals.

Karen James, CEO at Tameside, said that the ban was about ensuring the people who work in the hospital stay healthy just as much as patients.

“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,” she explained.

“As a result of the programme, many of my staff say their behaviour towards food has changed.  Snacking has dramatically reduced, and for many it has stopped completely.

“They say they are sleeping better and are feeling less anxious and stressed at work, which can only have a positive effect on the patients.”

Steve Brine, the public health minister, applauded the hospital for its “forward thinking” attitude in bringing in this new policy, while Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum said it was a “trailblazing” move.

Pre-empting NHS England’s decision on sugary food and drinks may prove to be a shrewd decision from the trust, as the national body has said it will be forced to implement its own ban as early as March of this year if other trusts do not crack down on the number of fizzy drinks sold at hospitals.

Although almost two thirds of NHS trusts have signed up to a voluntary scheme to reduce the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals, 91 trusts are still yet to sign up and have been threatened by Stevens.

Excess sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes, and the scheme aims to reduce the number of sugary drinks to 10% or less of the total drinks sold in NHS hospitals.

Top image: SAKhanPhotography

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