AN INVESTIGATION by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed that dozens of fast food restaurants, coffee bars and shops are selling discounted chocolate at hospitals, leading to accusations that the NHS itself fuelling the obesity epidemic in the UK.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that NHS trusts across the country are allowing outlets such as Costa Coffee into hospitals, where they are selling products including fruit drinks with four times the recommended daily sugar limits. The paper found 92 branches of the company among the 160 NHS trusts, alongside a host of burger chains, pizzerias, muffin shops and patisseries.
Medical experts are now urging the health service to “get its house in order” and clear its hospitals of junk food companies such as Burger King and Subway and coffee shops selling muffins and high-sugar drinks. Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, said the health service had to take “hard-nosed action” to end the sale of junk food in hospitals, to help tackle the obesity crisis.
The latest figures show that two- thirds of Britons are overweight or obese. According to the NHS this includes roughly 20% of under fives. This has led to a huge increase in type 2 diabetes in Britain; the NHS currently spends 10% of its budget tackling the disease already.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and science director of Action on Sugar, told The Sunday Telegraph: “What is going on is really obscene. The NHS needs to get its house in order, because this sends out entirely the wrong message. Hospitals should be a place of healing, but instead they are selling sickness.”