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Anorak | To all the fat nurses everywhere: keep taking the sugar

To all the fat nurses everywhere: keep taking the sugar

by | 10th, January 2018

After a lengthy stay in hospital, I was advised by a charming, caring and professional nurse to go out for ice-cream and champagne. She told me this as we chatted over a huge plate of biscuits and sugary tea. I felt instantly better. But sugar is taboo at an NHS hospital in Greater Manchester. Staff are being weaned off the stuff.

Karen James, Chief Executive Tameside hospital, says: “My staff work very hard. Long hours and shift patterns often make it very difficult for people to make healthy choices, so they opt for the instant sweet fixes, which until now have been readily available. These are dedicated healthcare professionals who believe they should be role models for their patients but the food environment has been working against them.”

Role models? I just wanted the nurses to give me the right drugs at the right time and stay wake.

“We’ve taken away the sugary drinks, we’ve taken sugary snacks out of vending machines, we’ve taken away cookies and muffins and replaced them with fruit,” thunders Amanda Bromley, director of human resources at Tameside “You’d go to the till and there’d be a Twix and a Bounty bar staring back at you. People are working long shifts and if things are in front of them we know they are going to reach for them.” Adding: “Nurses and other health professionals need to be leading by example. They need to be role models for patients.”

“If someone is visibly overweight people don’t necessarily trust that advice. The public expect nurses to be role models,” says Richard Kyle, of Edinburgh Napier University, who led a recent study to find measurements on people working in health professions, and found them to be as obese as the rest of us. “It’s a priority of Simon Stevens [head of NHS England] that the NHS should be an exemplar, have a better proportion than the general population.”

So the vending machines have been cleansed.

The Times has more:

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, is planning to ban the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals this summer if on-site shops cannot get them down to under 10 per cent of sales.

Maybe the shops can sell other stuff to get the higher-spending punters in, like running machines and cannabis, say.

He is also imposing calorie caps on sandwiches, crisps and chocolate to fight a “snack culture that is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diseases, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer”.

After so much PR guff – and the message to nurses to buy cheaper multi-pack of snacks at the supermarket – one thing is missing for the table: hospital food is disgusting. On my first night on the ward I was fed a baked potato with more ‘eyes’ than a Piers Morgan column. Thankfully, I had a someone who bring in fresh and edible food. And when I felt like a pick me up, well, the nurse was always there with biscuits. I can’t recall her weight, BMI or vital statistics, largely because I didn’t give a shit. But next time I’ll be sure to check as I seek her views on religion, politics, investment strategies and other things that I need from her to make sense of my own life.



Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink