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Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.

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Healthy choices for hospital staff and visitors

Kate BullKate Bull, Executive Director of Retail for Royal Voluntary Service talks about Healthy Choices, a national programme to support NHS workforce health.

Hospitals aren’t always great places to be healthy, with a lack of nutritious food and drink choices for NHS staff and visitors. We asked 250 doctors and nurses about their eating habits on duty. Many turn to quick snacks and sugar fixes to see them through long shifts.

  • Most skip meals (80%) and snack (76%), eating just 1 or 2 meals a day.
  • Over 1 in 5 (22%) said their diet has worsened in the last year, blaming a lack of healthy options (52%).
  • Over ¾ (78%) want healthier options in hospitals.
  • 62% believe these would have a positive effect on their overall diet.

You might be surprised to know that we’re Britain’s biggest hospital retailer, running 440 cafés, shops and trolley services in the country. Our proceeds support our work helping older people in the community, with £45 million raised in 2013-14.

Find out about our hospital shops and cafés

As a key NHS partner, we’re taking an early lead on Sir Bruce Keogh’s agenda for NHS workers to lead by example with healthy eating by transforming our hospital shops and cafés. We’ll have a new menu with healthy fruit and nut snacks, soups, freshly prepared salads, sandwiches and stews. You’ll see fewer crisps, confectionery and sugary drinks too.

Hospital staff and visitors will have their pick of delicious, freshly prepared, healthy and nutritious meals and snacks when they need them. So whether you’re dropping in for a smoothie or picking up essentials, you can enjoy feel-good food that supports older people in your local community.

Our first new-look café at Royal Bournemouth Hospital has been very popular and our first new-look store opens at Western General Hospital, Edinburgh soon. Keep an eye out in hospitals near you as we roll out our new menu and look across the country.

We rely on 13,000 trained, caring volunteers and staff to run our retail sites. They not only prepare and serve food and drinks, but provide support and advice to patients and visitors about services available to older people. Healthy food campaigner Jamie Oliver has already shown his support too as well as Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive and Maureen Watt, Scotland’s Public Health Minister.

Royal Voluntary Service hospital retail services have always been important places for comfort, support and advice for older people and their carers. Healthy Choices continues that tradition while helping NHS workers eat better.

Find out about how to join our team of volunteers and how to get help in your local area.

Posted by Kate Bull, Executive Director of Retail at 00:00 Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

Labels: Royal Voluntary Service, Shops, Cafés, Hospital