Royal Voluntary Service, the older people’s charity, has become the first hospital retailer to achieve the Scottish Grocers Federation Healthcare Retail Standard (HRS).

The charity-run stores at West Glasgow Ambulatory Care Hospital, Yorkhill and Western General Hospital, Edinburgh secured the standard, which is part of the Scottish Government’s health promotion framework for healthcare buildings, for its wide range of healthy food and drink.

Royal Voluntary Service is the biggest hospital retailer in the UK and manages over 500 hospital shops and cafés, employing 13,000 trained volunteers and staff. The charity has implemented the NHS’s health agenda ‘Healthy Choices’, and will phase in new food and drink options by March 2017 in Scotland, with a greater range of healthier options and space for crisps, confectionery and sugary drinks dramatically reduced.

Kate Bull, executive director of retail for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “As a responsible retailer and NHS partner, it’s important that we provide hospital staff and visitors with access to healthy food and drink options. We’re delighted that West Glasgow and Western General are the first to achieve the Healthcare Retail Standard. They have set the bar for our entire retail estate.”

John Drummond, account manager for the Scottish Grocers Federation’s Healthy Living Programme, said: “The criteria for the HRS in the three major areas of food, soft drinks and promotions are quite demanding and to see that Royal Voluntary Service have already reached the targeted levels, well ahead of the required date, reflects their commitment to the concept of offering healthier choices across their range.”

Aileen Campbell, minister for public health and sport, added: “I want to congratulate Royal Voluntary Service, SGF and all at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian. As part of our Health Promoting Health Service programme, I now look for others to follow suit so that we can better support staff, visitors and patients to make healthier food choices in our hospitals.”

The Royal Voluntary Service café at West Glasgow has also been awarded the NHS Health Scotland Healthyliving Award at plus level.

Picture: (left to right): Caroline Maxwell, service manager West Glasgow Ambulatory Care Hospital, Wilma McDonald, Royal Voluntary Service volunteer since 1988, Davy Thomson, Royal Voluntary Service retail area manager Scotland West, Duncan White, Royal Voluntary Service retail support manager Scotland East, Andy Roberts, Royal Voluntary Service retail support manager Scotland West.