NHS cash for healthier snacks spent on vending machine selling cheeseburgers
NHS cash set aside to give hospital patients, staff and visitors healthier snacks is being spent on a vending machine firm selling cheeseburgers.
The Bon Appetit offerings also include calorie-packed Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, chicken burgers and Magnum lollies – containing nearly a third of the recommended daily fat intake.
The money used to rent the £15-a-day machines comes from £150million of extra funding promised to the NHS if the menu adheres to anti-obesity measures.
NHS England recommends at least 60 per cent of pre-packed snacks should contain 400 calories or fewer. Bon Appetit offers Weight Watchers meals and healthy food options, but only alongside the more tempting high-calorie grub.
The burgers contain 455 to 563 calories – about a quarter of daily intake – and the pasties and sausage rolls have up to 651.
Also on sale are bacon butties (462), chicken tikka masala (743) and beef lasagne (580).
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said the machines “had no place in hospitals” and claimed “nearly 50 per cent of the food in them is less than healthy”.
He said hospitals should keep restaurants open 24 hours. Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, said: “Calorie-laden meals are not the answer for NHS staff on night shifts who grab what they can.”
The Campaign for Better Hospital Food’s Katherine Button said: “We want the Government to support NHS trusts with legally defined standards for food.”
Bon Appetit, based in Crawley, West Sussex, claims it meets NHS guidelines. The firm says it is widening its healthy choices range from 50 to 70 per cent.
Boss Keith Pordum said: “The NHS has not got the money for 24-7 canteens, so I am satisfying a need at a lower cost.”
Mr Pordum later said his vending machines would be restocked and 82 per cent of snacks available would be “healthier choices”.