Shadow Health Secretary welcomes new era of healthy shopping at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride

Monday, 20 March 2017
  • David McCullough, Donald Cameron and an RVS volunteer3.4 million hospital staff, visitors and patients in Scotland will have access to healthier food and drink choices over the next 12 months.
  • Product reformulation and range change will dramatically reduce calorie intake, fat, salt and sugar consumption.
  • 30,000 more portions of fruit and veg to be consumed as a result of focus on fruit.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Donald Cameron has launched a shop with a difference today at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride. Unlike many hospital retailers, Royal Voluntary Service Shop & Co. offers convenient healthy food, drink and grocery choices for NHS staff, visitors and patients, including fresh fruit and healthy snacks and lunch deals.

Busy shift patterns don’t always make it easy for NHS staff to eat, drink and shop healthily. Research by Royal Voluntary Service found that one in seven (14%) Scottish NHS doctors and nurses admitted they have a poor diet and three quarters (74%) wanted to see healthier options introduced into their hospital workplace.

The charity is committed to changing the face of hospital retail by improving and increasing the range of healthy food and drink choices available, and has earned Government praise for its efforts. It was the first hospital retailer to achieve the Healthcare Retail Standard (HRS), part of the Scottish Government’s health promotion framework for healthcare buildings, and will achieve the standard across its entire Scottish retail estate ahead of mandatory introduction at the end of March.

Since rolling out its new product ranges, Royal Voluntary Service has made healthier choices available to over 500,000 people, rising to 3.4 million in the next 12 months. By working with suppliers on product reformulation and range change:

  • Calorie intake from sandwiches alone will be reduced by two million in the year ahead.
  • Fat consumption from crisps will reduce by three million grams and salt consumption by 15,000 teaspoons.
  • Sugar intake from soft drinks will be reduced by the equivalent of 50,000 sugar cubes a year.
  • A focus on fruit will result in 30,000 additional portions of ‘1-of-your-5-a-day’ being consumed in Scotland over a year.*

Last October, Royal Voluntary Service Revitalise The Healthier Choice was launched, the first health-focused dietary-specific hospital shop at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. Shop & Co. at Hairmyres Hospital will feature a Royal Voluntary Service Revitalise The Healthier Choice concession, selling healthy products that meet strict nutritional criteria as well as those that meet particular dietary needs. The concession will offer a range of gluten-free products, alongside healthy snacks and lunch offers. Clear signage and labeling will enable customers to make healthier choices and to find food and drinks that meet their dietary requirements.

Greenock-based bakery Aulds is just one of the suppliers that have helped Royal Voluntary Service meet the stringent new Healthcare Retail Standard, providing scones and other products that meet the strict nutritional criteria.

Shop & Co. is run by local staff and volunteers from Royal Voluntary Service, the older people’s charity. The hospital shop’s team of friendly, trained volunteers, many of them aged over 70, also signpost services available to older people in the local community.

Royal Voluntary Service is the biggest refreshments retailer in hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales, with 440 cafés, shops and trolley services. Run by 13,000 volunteers and staff, proceeds fund the charity’s wider work enriching the lives of older people in hospitals, at home and in the community.

"For far too long, and somewhat ironically, hospitals have not been the most healthy places to buy food and drink items. We know that NHS staff working in hospitals find it difficult to make healthy choices, which is why we decided it was important that we take an early lead on NHS workforce health reform. The opening of Shop & Co. at Hairmyres is the next step in the transformation of our retail outlets to provide a modern shopping experience incorporating Healthier Choices. These are exciting and important developments in hospital retail and are already making a difference. The changes we are making in range and environment make us the NHS retailer of choice. We look forward to working with many more commissioners and hospital partners to ensure that the retail experience within their hospital settings is a healthy – and tasty – one."

David McCullough, Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering charities in Britain powered by more than 35,000 volunteers who regularly provide practical help to over 100,000 older people in their homes, communities and in hospitals.

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

If you are a member of the press and have a media enquiry please contact the Media Team. For all other enquiries, contact us.

Back to list

Read our blog

Read our opinions and comments on issues faced by older people today. 

See what we're saying 

email sign up

Keep up to date with our regular emails.

Sign up