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NHS England to lead by example with 20% hospital ‘sugar tax’

The NHS in England is set to practice what it preaches and introduce a 20 per cent sugar tax on unhealthy snacks and drinks purchased from hospital and health centre cafes.

Designed to slim down Britain’s obesity epidemic the measure could be introduced by 2020 with 1.3m staff employed by the health service being urged to ‘lead by example’.

The measure is being touted by chief executive Simon Stevens as part of an ongoing battle to promote healthy eating amongst patients and is expected to net up to £40m per year for hospital coffers.

Speaking to the Guardian Stevens said: “Because of the role that the NHS occupies in national life, all of us working in the NHS have a responsibility not just to support those who look after patients, but also to draw attention to and make the case for some of the wider changes that will actually improve the health of this country.

"It's not just the well-being of people in this country and our children. But it's also the sustainability of the NHS itself.”

Sweet toothed patients and staff have nothing to fear in the short term however with any pricing changes being phased in gently over the next three to five years as existing catering contracts come up for renewal.

Prime minister David Cameron has not ruled out introducing a sugar tax at a national level.

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