Four-fifths of nurses and doctors skip meals, survey finds

Hospital retailer the Royal Voluntary Service has published findings on the diets of healthcare professionals

Most nurses and doctors (80%) skip meals and 76% snack instead, with 35% of nurses eating only one meal a day while at work, a study has found.

The hospital retailer and older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) found that in England, Scotland and Wales, 52% of nurses and doctors responding to its survey said there were not many healthy food options available in their hospitals and 17% had seen more fast food outlets opening on hospital premises.
More than a fifth of nurses (21%) and 17% of doctors said their diet was poor, and 22% of nurses and doctors said their diet had declined in the past year.

During a typical working day, NHS doctors and nurses eat just two portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, and drink around 700ml of water – both measures short of recommended guidelines, the study found.

The RVS survey interviewed 116 nurses and 134 doctors.

RVS, the biggest hospital retailer in England, Scotland and Wales, has launched its Healthy Choices initiative and said it is committed to transforming its more than 500 hospital cafes, shops and trolley services into 'healthy eating hubs'.

The retailer said there will be a phased roll-out of new menus with healthy options and this will be complete by March next year.
The findings come as NHS England proposes the introduction of a 20% tax on all sugary drinks and foods in England's NHS hospitals and health centres by 2020.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said other hospital food retailers 'must now follow RVS’s lead, do the responsible thing and ditch sugary drinks and junk food in favour of tasty, healthy and affordable alternatives.'


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