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Response: 'Shops accused of exploiting vulnerable patients in hospitals'

Blog post   •   Aug 26, 2015 15:33 BST

Our Chief Executive Jane Featherstone comments on today's news that hospital retailers are marking up prices to target patients and their families.

"I was saddened, if not altogether shocked, to hear today's news that retailers including WHSmith and M&S have been found charging up to a 50% mark-up on some of their goods sold through their hospital concessions. 

These shops are often essential to families of patients who may be spending up to 12 hours a day by their loved-one's side. These families may not have access to outside shops and facilities, so rely on the hospital concessions to purchase their lunch or dinner, or a hot drink. It is disappointing to hear that some retailers have chosen to exploit this difficult situation by increasing the cost of their goods to match the limited supply and options on offer. 

Sadly, our families know too well the expense having a seriously ill child in hospital brings. The cost of paying for parking, a cup of coffee, sandwich lunch or hot dinner all adds up and can increase stress at an already difficult time.

That's why our 'Homes from Home' provide practical as well as emotional support. Our communal kitchens contain large cupboards and fridges where families can store weekly shopping, as well as full cooking facilities with all the pots, pans and utensils needed. This allows families to cook a proper dinner or pop a quick pizza in the oven, rather than having to buy an expensive meal from a hospital shop or canteen.   

We encourage families to make our houses their home, popping back for a cup of tea or to read the paper, to escape from the stress and worry of the hospital environment for a short while. It's the little things which can make all the difference and families shouldn't have to worry about the cost of a bottle of water or packet of crisps. 

On behalf of all the families we support, I would like to encourage retailers to follow the likes of Costa and maintain price equality within their hospital shops to support families and patients during such difficult times."

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