The Royal Derby Hospital has been struck with a ban that forces volunteers to hide their sugary treats on sale.
Charity workers are upset at the change, which they feel may impact their sales figures.
Friends of Derby
The Royal Derby Hospital is blessed with a group of volunteers called the Friends of Royal Derby Hospital. These volunteers spend their time selling food and drink on the premises to visitors, alongside full-time food jobs or retirement. The funds raised are then given back to the hospital in order to help improve their services.
In 2016, the group managed to raised £97,892 which was given to the hospital. It purchased a new liver treatment machine and electric tourniquet machine, amongst other things. The equipment that was replaced had been over 20 years old.
These donations are obviously hugely beneficial to the hospital, but new rules may mean that they are not able to raise quite as much.
"Our aim is to give the hospital around £100,000 each year for new and replacement equipment. In 2015 we managed £125,000. Last year, it was just under £98,000. I fear that the new rules will mean a further downturn,” says organisation treasurer Alan Thompson.
New Sugar Rules
Health watchdogs have targeted sugary foods in order to increase patient health. They are now enforcing rules which mean the Friends will have to hide sugary foods and drinks under the counter in the tea bar and trollies that they run.
The team also runs two shops at the Royal Derby, but these will not be affected as they are already compliant with the rules regarding how far sugary items must be displayed from the payment point.
"Of course I recognise the benefits on health but ultimately this will restrict our ability to fund equipment. We already can't display confectionery and drinks, and soon our trollies must be fitted with side panels so that we can't show the goods on offer there either. Although we will have to wait to see the impact over a full year, it is bound to have a detrimental effect on our income,” says Mr Thompson. “The non-diet drinks and cakes are still there but we have to hide them and rely on people asking if we still stock them. We'd happily replace chocolate, crisps and sugary drinks with fruit but we have to sell what people want to buy."
The ruling was made by the NHS Commissioning for Quality and Innovation Initiative, known as CQUIN.
It has banned overt promotion of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. It also bans promotion of sugary drinks. These include adverts placed on NHS premises as well as price promotions and even the placement of unhealthy foods near the checkout, where people are more likely to pick up extra items.
"We're committed to helping our patients, visitors and staff to make healthier choices, and as such we have supported all outlets to comply with the CQUIN relating to healthy eating, which requires the removal of items containing high volumes of salt, fat and sugar from checkout areas, and the removal of price promotions on these items,” says a spokesperson from the Derby NHS Foundation Trust.
The Friends are also appealing for volunteers. This could prove to be vital experience for those looking for food sales jobs, giving real experience in a food retail environment which would look great on a CV. Those who are interested in taking part can contact the Friends. The organisation has been running since 1956 and currently has 200 volunteers, though more are needed.