As of the year 2020, an official 20% ‘sugar tax’ will be imposed by the NHS in their hospitals and hospital catering departments in an attempt to tackle the obesity crisis head-on, as proposed by chief executive Simon Stevens. This ‘tax’ would be placed in many community, mental health and acute hospitals across the UK as well as every local health center in the country.
He also raised the fact that this 20% tax on surgery drinks and other similar snack items could bring in an extra £20- £40 million a year and that will be planned on being spent in order to improve the health of the 1.3 million NHS workers themselves. “Because of the role that the NHS occupies in national life, all of us working in the NHS have a responsibility not just to support those who look after patients but also to draw attention to and make the case for some of the wider changes that will actually improve the health of this country” Mr Stevens says.
He also commented on the fact that by 2020 there will be one of two outcomes: that all practices will be removed from NHS services and hospitals or the sugar tax will be “on the back of them”. Although many other health associations and the NHS believes it will help save billions of pounds and from the NHS’s budget, PM David Cameron is not so convinced. “What matters is we do make progress” replied Mr Cameron to journalists, also with the fact that the new taxes would not an appropriate resort to make.
Mr Stevens will also be making the effort to encourage food manufacturers to reduce the sugar that goes into their products as another tactic of dealing with the crisis. Adding to this, “It’s not just the well being of people in this country and our children. But it’s also the sustainability of the NHS itself.”
In a nutshell, the main facts of this news story is that: the NHS are going to be putting in place a sugar tax on many sugary beverages and snacks as of the year 2020, as proposed by chief executive Simon Stevens. He believes that this will reduce the obesity crisis in the UK massively and that it will also remove a load off the NHS’s shoulders and keep their budget lasting longer too. One of the main facts of this story is that PM David Cameron does not believe that this kind of resort is effective in any way.
This story may be a bit hidden behind the mainstream news stories but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s not news-worthy; everybody knows that this is a crisis that has been debated and ongoing for a number of decades now. So the fact that something as drastic as this has been resorted to in order to deal with it may make many people just realize how serious the government are on tackling the obesity crisis currently happening. However, many other people would agree that, including myself, the tax won’t stop people purchasing these sugary items completely. Also, I feel that there are some mixed messages within the proposals for this. For example, Stevens believes that this will reduce the number of people buying sugary drinks but he also adds the predicted the financial numbers that they could bring in. This could make the audience question whether or not this has properly been thought through enough to be carried out effectively- because this misleading point puts me off this plan completely, plus it also proves that it isn’t going to work to an extent if people are still going to be buying them.
This kind of tax is also unfair, mainly because they are forgetting the kinds of people who need this kind of sugar in their diets and people with medical conditions who can’t survive without it such type 1 Diabetics.
Another thing to point out relating to this is that it’s not just sugar that’s causing this crisis- what about salt and fat content of food/beverages? As much as I do (in a way) think this will work, I feel that the target audience will have their doubts about this as well. This may also be why it isn’t rally a mainstream news story (yet); because it’s promoting something which won’t happen until 4 years time; this tends to be the kind of event that will go ahead anyway, despite a voice from the public about it.
BBC News. (2016). NHS England ‘to impose 20% sugar tax’ in hospital cafes. BBC News online, available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35340752 [accessed 18th January 2016]
Campbell, D & Johnson, P. (2016). NHS chief to introduce sugar tax in hospitals to tackle UK obesity crisis. The Guardian, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/17/nhs-sugar-tax-hospitals-tackle-uk-obesity-crisis-simon-stevens [accessed 18th January 2016)
Hughes, T. (2016). NHS bringing in its own sugar tax to tackle the obesity crisis: hospitals to charge more for snacks and drinks in cafes and vending machines. The Daily Mail Online, available at :http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3404342/NHS-bringing-sugar-tax-tackle-obesity-crisis.html [accessed 18th January 2016]