Costa Coffee criticised for adding ‘hospital tax’ to drinks in NHS outlets

17 April 2023, 14:12

Costa coffee charges an additional 10p for drinks in all of its hospital branches.
Costa coffee charges an additional 10p for drinks in all of its hospital branches. Picture: Getty images

By Jenny Medlicott

The UK's largest coffee chain has been slammed for adding a 'hospital tax' to drinks sold in its NHS outlets.

Costa Coffee has been criticised for adding a 10p surcharge to drinks sold in its hospital branches, affecting those visiting sick friends and family.

The coffee chain has 94 concessions in hospitals across the UK, all of which add the extra charge to drinks.

Patient groups and retail experts have condemned the fee, labelling it a "hospital tax".

On Northumberland Street in Newcastle, a small latte would cost you £3.05. But for the same drink at the Royal Victoria Infirmary - just less than two miles away - the same drink would set you back £3.15, reports The Sun.

Down south, St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex charges £3.25 for a flat white and yet, just a short walk down the road and it's only £3.15.

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The 10p fee has been labelled a 'hospital tax' by critics.
The 10p fee has been labelled a 'hospital tax' by critics. Picture: Getty images

Dennis Reed, director of campaign group Silver Voices, called out the chain: "They know with long waiting times for patients and their relatives, they have captive customers who need refreshments, so they slap on a hospital surcharge."

One social media user said: "They do it on purpose, because they know you'll pay up if you've not got any other choice!"

Whereas another said: "You can always trust big business to rip people off when they are at their most captive."

Costa said the pricing is set by its partners.

A spokesman for the brand said: "It is not uncommon to find some Costa Coffee products that are priced higher, reflecting the unique locations and operating costs associated with those locations."

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