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Vending in Hospitals – Complying with NHS Requirements

Vending in Hospitals – Complying with NHS Requirements

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The NHS encourages hospitals to improve aspects of their work by offering financial incentives under a scheme known as “Commissioning for Quality and Innovation” (CQUIN). One of the aspects covered in the “improving staff health and wellbeing” section in the CQUIN for 2017-19 is the provision of healthy food for staff, visitors and patients.

The requirements for this will apply to all sites providing food in hospitals, including cafés, shops, kiosks, patient meals and drinks, and more importantly to us – vending machines.

The CQUIN for 2016/17 banned the advertising and promotion of products high in salt, fat, and sugar from all points of sale in hospitals. It also required that healthy options be available at all times for those working nights. The CQUIN for 2017/18 builds on this by requiring that:

• 70% of drinks lines must be sugar free (less than 5 grams of sugar per 100ml)

• 60% of confectionery does not exceed 250 calories

• At least 60% of sandwiches and other savoury products contain 400 kcal or less and less than 5g saturated fat per 100g

In the CQUIN for 2018/19 the above figures are increased to 80%, 80%, and 75% respectively.

The definition of drinks includes water, fruit drinks, and milk drinks. They must not contain more than 5% added sugar but the sugar naturally present in fruit drinks is not included. Milk drinks are allowed to contain up to 10% added sugar. Many manufacturers have already responded to the demand for lower sugar products and a wide range of products that comply with this requirement are already available.

Many confectionery manufacturers have changed the size of their products to fall under the 250kcal limit.

Sandwich’s may present more of a challenge depending on where these are sourced from. Major sandwich providers are already offering sandwiches which contain fewer than the 400kcal per serving requirement.

Several news outlets recently reported the story that “NHS bans sale of ‘super-size’ chocolate bars and sweets”. The vending industry continues to be required to follow the requests of the client. If you need some inspiration on healthier options contact us in the office!

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