Sugary drinks will be banned from hospitals across England and Wales unless shops take action to cut their sales.
In a crackdown on obesity, the NHS is targeting cans and bottles, as well as those made in cafes and canteens, such as coffees with syrup.
Other drinks that will be hit by the move are those with added sugar, including fruit juices and milk drinks, depending on their total content.
NHS England’s move is designed to ensure sugary drinks make up no more than 10 per cent of beverage sales by next summer.
Retailers who fail to discourage consumers from making the purchases will be banned from selling them.
It is hoped the controversial move will help to improve the diets of both patients and staff, of which more than half are deemed overweight.
In a desperate attempt to crackdown on obesity, a range of cans and bottles sold in hospital shops will be targeted, NHS England has announced
Firms that have agreed to reduce sugary drinks to 10 per cent or less of total drink sales in their hospital shops include WH Smith, Marks & Spencer, Greggs and Subway.
Medirest, which supplies many hospitals with ready meals and brings in chains such as Costa, is also on board.
ISS, which supplies food for patients, staff and visitors, and the Royal Voluntary Service, which runs some hospital shops, have also both agreed.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but spoonfuls of added sugar day-in, day-out mean serious health problems.
‘It’s great that following discussion with NHS England, big name retailers are agreeing to take decisive action, which helps send a powerful message to the public and NHS staff about the link between sugar and obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.’
NHS England has already announced measures to improve healthy eating in hospitals, including axing deals on sugary drinks as well as those for salty, fatty or sugary foods.
NHS England said such drinks would be banned unless voluntary action is taken to cut sales
Retailers have also been told to remove these foods from checkouts, while healthy food should be made available at all times, including to staff working night shifts.
Other pledges include ensuring the majority of sandwiches and pies contain no more than 400 calories. A typical pasty has 560 calories while there are 450 in a cheese ploughmans sandwich.
Almost 700,000 NHS employees out of 1.3 million are thought to be overweight or obese.
Adults who have at least one diet drink a day are three times more at risk from a stroke or dementia, research showed yesterday.
Scientists said they should no longer be regarded as the healthier alternative and urge the public to stick to water or milk.
Their study of almost 4,400 adults also suggests diet drinks are more likely to cause strokes and dementia than those full of sugar.
There was no link between sugary beverages and either of the illnesses – although the researchers aren’t encouraging us to drink them either.
The team of scientists from Boston University believe the artificial sweeteners including aspartame and saccharine maybe affecting the blood vessels, eventually triggering strokes and dementia.
Other targets that should be met by April 2018 include 60 per cent of confectionery and sweets in shops not exceeding 250 calories, increasing to 80 per cent of these products in 2018/19.
Katherine Button, the co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: ‘We are delighted that NHS England has taken such decisive action to reduce the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals.
‘NHS hospitals are trusted by patients, families and staff to keep them fit and well and NHS England is helping everyone to take a big healthy step in the right direction.’
She said people with diabetes, who sometimes need sugary drinks to quickly raise their blood sugar levels, would still have access to them.
Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: ‘It makes sense to promote sales of healthier options in hospitals but not to focus on soft drinks, the only food and drink category which has seen a significant reduction in consumer sugar intake, down by over 18 per cent since 2012.
‘It’s also worth remembering that while sugar intake from soft drinks has been falling, obesity levels have been increasing.
‘However, it’s good to see NHS England taking a pragmatic approach to the issue by including all drinks that contain added sugar – milk-based drinks and coffee – but still allowing consumers a variety of options.’