NHS hospital shops agree to limit sales of sugary drinks in England
WHSmith, Greggs, Subway and Marks &Spencer will now limit the quantity of sugary drinks to no more than 10 per cent of their total beverages by April 2018.
NHS England has moved to ensure hospital outlets sell healthier drinks and snacks, and hospital shops that do not comply will face a total ban on selling sugary drinks.
The decision has been welcomed by campaigners, with NHS England stating the plans are part of a health drive to reduce rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.
"The NHS is in a great position to take action on the damage being caused by poor diet to the nation's health and the wider healthcare system," said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.
"With more money spent each year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than on the police, fire service and judicial system combined, urgent action is needed."
Roughly 700,000 of the 1.3 million people employed by the NHS are thought to be overweight or obese, which significantly raises the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The government made strides to tackle rates of obesity last year, but its childhood obesity strategy was criticised by campaigners for being "weak".
A sugar tax will be introduced in 2018 on food and drink manufacturers, whose drinks contain more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, and NHS England now wants hospitals to stock a healthier range of drinks and snacks.
As part of the new rules, 60 per cent of chocolate and sweets sold in hospital shops should not exceed 250 calories, which will rise to 80 per cent in 2018; and 60 per cent of pre-packed sandwiches and meals should not contain more 400 calories by April 2018, rising to 75 per cent in 2018.
Katherine Button, co-ordinator for Campaign for Better Hospital Food, has welcomed the move. She said: "We are delighted that NHS England has taken such decisive action to reduce the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals.
"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."