Soft drinks will be banned for sale at Queensland hospitals from July 1. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Soft drinks will be banned for sale at Queensland hospitals from July 1. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

‘Nanny state’: Drinks you won’t be able to buy at hospital

SOFT drinks will be banned for sale and a host of popular drinks like juice, flavoured milk and coffee severely restricted at all Queensland hospitals as the Palaszczuk Government rails against obesity.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Queensland Health will introduce bans on July 1 under its Healthier Drinks directive, with a list of the targeted, unhealthy "RED Drinks" listed on a leaked Queensland Health memo.

The memo, from Director-General Michael Walsh to all hospital chief executives, acknowledges the change will cause problems with contractual and commercial arrangements but commits to work through them.

 

A host of drinks sold at Queensland hospitals will face restrictions from July, including smoothies.
A host of drinks sold at Queensland hospitals will face restrictions from July, including smoothies.

He said implementing the directive was about contributing to "how we care for our employees and show leadership" in phasing out unhealthy food and drinks.

"We know that 64 per cent of Queenslanders in 2014-15 were overweigh tor obese, with diet and physical activity closely linked to this trend," Mr Walsh wrote.

"Queensland Health has a responsibility to help our staff and visitors to our facilities make healthier drink choices."

A two-page list sets out drinks that cannot be sold, provided, promoted or advertised at any outlet.

 

They include all soft drinks and all fruit drinks that contain less than 99 per cent juice, coffees and hot chocolates with added cream and milkshakes made with ice cream.

Diet soft drinks, cordials, iced tea, sports drinks and flavoured water can only be sold in bottles 600ml or less.

No juice can be sold in bottles bigger than 300ml and full-fat flavoured milk is restricted to 375ml serving sizes, although "lite" flavoured milk can be sold in 500ml containers.

Restrictions around milkshakes mean a full-cream offering is capped at 375ml.

A skim milkshake, smoothie or ice coffee can measure 500ml but no more than 20ml of syrup, or "one level tablespoon of powder" can be used, and added sugar, cream, ice-cream, sorbet, gelato and confectionary are banned.

Patients and staff will face restrictions with their milkshake order.
Patients and staff will face restrictions with their milkshake order.

Patients will be able to buy a coffee, mocha, chai or hot chocolate as long as it's no larger than 500ml, but additions like whipped cream are not allowed.

The directive orders water to be promoted as the drink of choice for sale at all outlets, that free drinking water be available and promoted and that artificially sweetened drinks don't comprise more than 20 per cent of drinks displayed.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the intervention in people's lives was "ridiculous".

"I am all for healthy eating and drinking but Labor's nanny state crackdown in hospitals goes way too far," she said.

"Fancy telling a parent they can't get a juice for their kid who is scared about an upcoming operation or a loved one can't grab a large coffee while waiting for their partner in surgery.

"Surely some signs encouraging healthy choices should be enough and then people can make their own choice."

On the Red List

All soft drinks, cordials, iced teas, energy drinks, sports drinks and flavoured water with added sugar

All fruit drinks that contain less than 99% juice

Coffees and hot chocolates with added cream or over 500ml

All milkshakes made with ice-cream

Full-cream milkshakes over 375ml

Diet soft drinks, cordials, iced tea, sports drinks and flavoured water in bottles over 600ml

Juice in bottles bigger than 300ml

Full-fat flavoured milk over 375ml

Lite flavoured milk over 500ml

Skim milkshakes, smoothies or ice coffee over 500ml - but with no more than 20ml of syrup or "a level tablespoon of powder", and no added sugar, cream, ice-cream, sorbet, gelato or confectionery