Public Health

08.01.18

Stevens threatens hospital-wide ban of sugary drinks in 2018 as trusts fail to hit targets

A full ban on sugary drinks may be implemented in NHS hospitals by March 2018 if trusts do not take action quickly, NHS England has re-confirmed this week.

Last year, Simon Stevens sent the first warning that sugary drinks would be banned in all NHS hospitals this year if trusts failed to crack down on how many fizzy drinks were sold by retailers.

Though 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.

The scheme aims to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10% or less of drinks sold, and applies to sugary soft drinks, milkshakes and hot drinks with added sugar syrups.

In addition to 141 NHS trusts, 14 national suppliers have also joined the scheme, while some trusts have already introduced their own ban on sugary drinks.

However, hospitals and suppliers have now been warned that if they don’t take action to reduce sales of the drinks, which can cause tooth decay, obesity and diabetes, by March 2018, a ban will be introduced this year instead.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “It’s important the NHS practices what it preaches on healthy food and drink.

“We want 2018 to be the year when the tasty, affordable and easy option for patients, staff and visitors is the healthy option. Many NHS hospitals have answered the call and are taking positive action.”

Public Health England’s chief executive, Duncan Selbie, explained: “Hospitals should play an important role in preventing obesity, not just treating it.

“Plans to offer healthier food and restrict less healthy options are a positive step towards tackling the country’s obesity problem.”

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