Food outlets in NHS hospitals ranked

24/10/2016 - 09:39
Shops, restaurants and catering companies that sell food in NHS hospitals have been rated for their commitment to healthy eating.

A new league table, compiled by health campaigners, ranks high-street brands in order of how well they meet NHS England targets on healthy checkouts, food advertising and price promotions in hospitals.

The Royal Voluntary Service comes out top in the Campaign for Better Hospital Food’s Healthy Hospital Food League Table, whilst Subway and Burger King sit at the bottom of the rankings for failing to meet NHS targets for promotion of healthier food.

Katherine Button from the Campaign for Better Hospital Food said: “It's disappointing that Subway and Burger King alone out of all the major brands serving food in hospitals are the only two we found not to be working towards NHS England targets on promotion of healthier food.

"The healthier option should be the easier option in hospitals, and at the moment Subway and Burger King appear to be holding back moves towards a healthier NHS. And through their formal partnerships with hospital caterers, they are also appear to be holding back those caterers from doing better in the Healthy Hospital Food League Table.”

Earlier this year, after successful pressure from the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, NHS England has set targets for healthier checkouts, food advertising and price promotions for all shops cafés and restaurants serving food on hospital grounds.

Brands operating in hospitals have to meet these targets by March 2017 (called CQUIN targets), or risk NHS England withholding much needed funds.

The RVS topped the league table for meeting all of the NHS England targets in advance of the deadline and has also rolled out the higher Scottish NHS healthcare retail standard across all 220 RVS sites in English hospitals by March 2018.

Subway, which has 12 sites in hospitals, has failed to meet three out of the four targets and sits at the bottom of the table, alongside Burger King, which has just one fast food outlet remaining in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

Greggs has committed to meeting all the targets early for its single site in New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, whilst M&S, with its 21 sites, scored highly in healthy checkouts but failed to commit to the target for healthy price promotions.

In the battle of the sandwich and coffee shops, AMT Coffee just pips Pret a Manger to the top spot for their AMT Coffee shops in Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Pret a Manger scores highly for its John Radcliffe Hospital outlet in Oxford, but, despite promoting a healthier food philosophy, was let down by its policy of displaying high-fat baked goods at the till points.

Costa and Starbucks bring up the rear but told the Campaign for Better Hospital Food they will still aim to meet the March 2017 deadline.

Dr Susannah McWilliam, spokesperson for Food for Life, Soil Association, a supporter of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “Hospitals retailers now have an important set of targets in the drive to promote healthier food and drink for staff and visitors through NHS England’s Staff Health and Wellbeing CQUIN. The Campaign for Better Hospital Food continues to shine the spotlight on food in hospitals – food that should be supporting good health for all.

“This new league table celebrates brands that are working hard to meet the new CQUIN targets and will encourage those who are failing to up their game and support healthier food for the 1.3 million members of NHS staff and all others using hospital forecourts.”

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