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High sugar drinks removed from hospital menus as NHS England crackdown hits Suffolk and Essex

Sugary drinks will be banned from hospital shops next year unless action is taken to cut their sales. Picture: ANTHONY DEVLIN/PA WIRE

Sugary drinks will be banned from hospital shops next year unless action is taken to cut their sales. Picture: ANTHONY DEVLIN/PA WIRE

Unhealthy drinks packed with sugar are being phased out of hospital shops and cafes in the region as part of a new crackdown by NHS England.

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: SIMON PARKER Ipswich Hospital. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Bosses at West Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and Colchester General Hospital are backing the organisation’s latest drive to reduce the number of sugary drinks available in food outlets.

Chiefs were warned this week that soft drinks could be banned if hospitals fail to meet targets.

Staff at Ipswich Hospital are already making changes – and have withdrawn high sugar drinks such as Irn Bru from cafes.

Meal deals containing healthier choices are around 50p cheaper in WH Smith shops.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said: “This is something we fully support and we are already taking action by removing certain high sugar drinks.”

Colchester General Hospital stocks low sugar drinks such as water – but also offers cans of Monster and Relentless.

A spokesman said: “We fully support NHS England’s initiative to reduce the amount of sugary drinks that can be bought at hospitals.”

Staff are working with the League of Friends who run the trust’s four shops to cut down on sugary drinks.

Colchester Hospital. Colchester Hospital.

They are also making sure that only healthy options are put next to tills.

West Suffolk Hospital have stopped selling high sugar 330ml cans and will soon limit the sale of fruit drinks.

Public health registrar Helena Jopling said: “The ban won’t solve obesity issues on its own, but it is an important step towards a wider understanding of the dangers of too much sugar in our diets, and it will certainly have an impact on the amount of sugar which people consume in our hospital.”

North Ipswich and Central Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter praised hospitals in our region and said they were “leading by example” – but stressed the issue does go beyond sugary drinks.

“I know our hospitals have this issue high on the agenda,” he said.

“They are leading by example and making visible changes.

“The problem does go beyond sugary drinks and it is all about making sure people make healthier choices and don’t just go into the shop and buy a lot of chocolate bars and snacks.”

His remarks come after the British Medical Association urged NHS England to go one step further and extend the decision to include all unhealthy food.

What do you think? Send your views to emily.townsend@archant.co.uk

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