HOSPITALS in Cumbria could receive a cash boost for ditching supersize chocolate bars and sugary snacks in vending machines and on-site shops.
The boss of NHS England has announced a move to ban the sale of large sharing packs of sweets from vending machines on hospital premises in a bid to encourage people to eat more healthily.
Pre-packaged sandwiches will also fall foul of the new rule if they contain more than 400 calories or 5g of fat per 100g.
In return, hospital trusts that complete the move could be given a cash boost, Mr Stevens added.
Those in charge of the trust that runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital are now set to reduce the volume of sugary snacks on sale at both sites.
A spokesman for the North Cumbria Hospitals University Trust said: "North Cumbria University Hospitals is working together with our catering and retail partners to reduce availability sugary and fatty foods in order to promote healthier eating.
"The health and well being of our trust staff, patients and visitors is a key focus of the trust."
The new ruling by NHS England, the organisation in charge of hospitals and acute care in the UK, is designed to help halt the spread of obesity and its associated health risks, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The ruling is unlikely to affect single bars of chocolate like a Mars bar, which contains 230 calories - though a large 93g bag of Maltesers containing 470 calories would not be considered suitable for hospital premises.
Mr Stevens, NHS England's chief executive officer, said: "The NHS is now stepping up action to combat the super-size snack culture which is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer.
"In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors."
Contraband foods should be removed from vending machines and shops on hospital sites by April next year, NHS England states.
It is hoped it will help prevent obesity which costs NHS billions of pounds every year.