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NHS could ban sale of soft drinks in hospitals

Sky News logo Sky News 21/04/2017

Sugary soft drinks will be banned in hospital shops if retailers fail to cut their sales over the next 12 months. 

NHS England has set shops a target in a bid to make our hospitals healthier.

Bottles and cans and refillable soft drinks as well as coffees made with syrup will be affected.

The move will also hit fruit juices and milk drinks with added sugar.

Shops must reduce sugary drink sales to just 10% of their total drink sales within a year.

WHSmith, Marks & Spencer, Greggs, Subway and the Royal Voluntary Service have all agreed to cut sales.

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."

He added: "It's great that big name retailers are agreeing to take decisive action."

Sugary drinks could be banned from hospitals in England under new plans to tackle the rising number of overweight NHS staff © PA Sugary drinks could be banned from hospitals in England under new plans to tackle the rising number of overweight NHS staff Specialist obesity dietician Nicole Berberian told Sky News she welcomed the move: "We're trying to do anything we can to get the sugar from the nation down from drinks.

"We've seen it's related to tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, and also for children and teenagers, it's been related to weight gain."

Katherine Button, the co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: "NHS hospitals are trusted by patients, families and staff to keep them fit and well, and NHS England is helping everyone to take a big healthy step in the right direction."

There has been growing pressure for measures to tackle obesity, and from next April a sugar tax is being introduced on the soft drinks industry.

The British Soft Drinks Association Director General Gavin Partington said: "It makes sense to promote sales of healthier options in hospitals but not to focus on soft drinks, the only food and drink category which has seen a significant reduction in consumer sugar intake, down by over 18 percent since 2012."

NHS England is also setting targets to cut confectionery sales and also foods like pre-packed sandwiches and pre-packed meals.

Many patients have also applauded the move. One visitor to West Middlesex Hospital in London told Sky News: "They should be selling healthy stuff in the first place. It's because of the sugar people end up in hospitals, so they should set an example."

Related: Sugary drinks lead to 184K deaths every year (Provided by Fox Business)

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