Hospitals and health services
Hospitals and health services play an important role in helping staff and visitors make healthy lifestyle choices.
'Better health through prevention' is a key focus of the Victorian Government’s Health 2040: Advancing health, access and care policy and a target in the Victorian Cancer Plan, “at least 80 per cent of health services’ retail outlets and vending machines meeting Healthy Choices by 2024”.
Supplying healthier foods and drinks to your staff and visitors is now part of the Department of Health’s Healthy Choices Policy directive for in-house managed food retail, all vending and all staff/visitor catering. They are no longer voluntary guidelines.
The Policy Directive applies to all public health services across all of their sites and facilities (such as hospitals, integrated community health services and public residential aged care services) and covers:
- in-house retail food outlets (including items purchased by staff and visitors from patient/resident menus)
- all vending machines
- all staff/visitor catering
For further information about the Healthy Choices: policy directive for Victorian public health services click here.
By providing healthy foods and drinks, your health service will:
- meet the Department of Healthy policy requirements
- communicate consistent messages about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles to the community
- have a food service which aligns with the health messages of the organisation
- meet community expectations about promoting healthy lifestyles.
A whole of service approach to healthy eating
The most successful way to support healthy eating in an organisation is to use a whole of service approach. This means making sure healthy choices are available everywhere where foods and drinks are supplied, including:
- food and drink retail outlets (e.g. canteens, cafeterias, cafes, coffee shops and kiosks)
- other retail outlets where foods and drinks are the main items sold (e.g. convenience stores)
- vending machines
- staff rooms and kitchens
- fundraising activities, gifts, prizes and give-aways.
The Victorian Government has developed the Healthy choices: policy guidelines for hospitals and health services to help health facilities use a whole of service approach to healthy eating.
These guidelines apply to all foods and drinks available to staff, volunteers, visitors and customers. They do not apply to inpatient, client or aged-care resident meals.