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Retailers operating in hospitals face ban on selling sugary drinks in the UK

| International retailers

Retailers operating in NHS hospitals will be banned from selling sugary drinks next year unless action is taken to drastically reduce sales of such products.

NHS England has asked retailers to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10% or less of their total drinks sales within hospitals over the next 12 months. WH Smith, Marks & Spencer, Greggs, the Subway, Medirest, ISS and the Royal Voluntary Service have all agreed to work towards the target. Any companies that do not comply by the deadline face a total ban on selling sugary drinks in hospital shops.

The plans are part of the government’s drive to reduce obesity across the country. NHS England has already removed all price promotions on sugary drinks and junk food sold in hospitals, whilst ensuring healthy food options are available to patients and staff.

To build on this, NHS England wants hospitals to make further efforts.  By April 2018, it wants to ensure 60% of confectionery and sweets stocked in hospital shops do not exceed 250 kcal, rising to 80% of confectionery and sweets in 2018/19.  Meanwhile, it wants 60% of pre-packed sandwiches and other savoury pre-packed meals to contain 400 kcal or less per serving and not exceed five grams of saturated fat per 100g, moving to 75% in 2018/19.

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens 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.”

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