NHS Chiefs Consider Blanket Ban on Sugary Drinks in Hospitals

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NHS chiefs in England are considering a blanket ban on the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals across the country.

Chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, explained that executives are currently debating whether to introduce a ban or introduce a tax on sugary drinks sold in hospitals in England. By doing this, Mr Stevens hoped that the NHS would be setting a good example.

Initial pilot schemes, which were carried out in four hospitals, showed that both approaches were successful and the consultation will run until the 18th January. If plans are approved, England would be the first country in the world to adopt such measures.

The consultation relates to drinks that contain added sugar. This includes fizzy drinks, energy drinks, juices and sweetened milk-based drinks.

The option to impose a tax is associated with a 20% tax on sugary drinks, which could raise an estimated £20 million to £40 million per year. This would be reinvested in NHS services, including programmes that are designed to boost the health and wellbeing of NHS employees. The other option is a total ban on sugary drinks. In a pilot study, it was found that the total number of drinks sold during the trial period remained the same, which suggests that vendors would not lose out.

Mr Stevens said that action was needed and stressed that it was time for NHS staff to “practice what we preach” in an age where rates of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are increasing.

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