All drinks sold at Central West Hospital and Health Service facilities will be sugar-free or healthier options.

“Over the past few months, we have introduced a program to oversee the implementation of Queensland Health’s Healthier Drinks at Healthcare Facilities directive,’’ Central West Health Chief Executive Jane Hancock said.

 The directive will become mandatory for all health services from 1 July and aims to ensure any drinks sold, promoted and advertised at their facilities are only healthier drinks.

 “As health service providers, it is up to us to show the way forward to a healthier future by example,’’ Ms Hancock said

“As a result of this program, patients and visiting families and friends, as well as employees, will have access to healthy drink options at vending machines to be installed at all Central West Health facilities.

“The machines will offer healthy options such as sugar-free soft drink, sparkling water, kombucha and high-protein breakfast drinks.’’

Ms Hancock said these would be recognisable brands that people were used to, including:

  • Kirks
  • Remedy Kombucha
  • Sanitarium
  • Mount Franklin
  • Coca-Cola

Ms Hancock said the 2018 Queensland Chief Health Officer’s Report showed that 36 per cent of people in the Central West self-reported as having an unhealthy weight, including children aged 5–17 years.

“So, it’s important for us as a health service to model behaviours that promote healthier eating and drinking options to our residents,’’ she said.

“We have been working closely over the past few months with key stakeholders from Central West community health consumer groups, health industry organisations and within the organisation to develop the Healthier Drinks initiative program.

“We also recruited a project officer to ensure delivery of key project activities under the program.

“We are very excited now to be implementing this program to promote and provide healthier choices for Central West residents in our hospitals.

“As a health service, we see ourselves as role models when it comes to leading healthy lifestyles and want the community to be aware that making healthy lifestyle choices has far-reaching benefits.’’

The Central West HHS will have five new vending machines that will be installed at:

  • Longreach Hospital waiting room area
  • Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service outpatient waiting room area
  • Blackall Hospital waiting room area
  • Alpha – in the MPHS inpatients area (with signage to direct people from the waiting room to the vending machine)
  • Winton MPHS waiting room area