Costa Coffee under fire for slapping 10p ‘surcharge’ on drinks at NHS outlets

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: Patients and staff take advantage of the Costa Coffee shop in the recently opened Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital on February 7, 2011 in Birmingham, England. The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital accommodates 1,213 beds and 30 operating theatres. The super hospital has a 100-bed intensive care unit - the largest in Europe - and the largest single floor critical care unit in the world. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

COSTA Coffee has been criticised for slapping a 10p “surcharge” on the price of beverages at NHS outlets.

Patient groups and retail experts accused it of using a “hospital tax” on those visiting sick loved ones.

Costa Coffee charges 10p more per drink at NHS branches

The chain has 94 concessions in UK hospitals.

But a Sun on Sunday investigation found it charges 10p more per drink in those compared to its high street shops.

It costs £3.05 for a small latte or cappuccino at Costa’s branch in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, and £3.35 for a medium one.

But down the road at its Medirest-run outlet at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, the same drinks will set you back £3.15 and £3.45 respectively.

It is a similar story at the other end of the country with an Americano at Costa’s site at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex, costing £2.65, a flat white £3.25, and lattes and cappuccinos £3.15.

The same drinks bought at its East Street branch just a walk away are all 10p cheaper.

The disparity was blasted by Dennis Reed, director of campaign group Silver Voices.

He said: “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.”

Martin James of HOAR’s Squeeze Team added: “Of all of the examples of price gouging, this effective hospital tax is one of the worst I have seen.

“There is no excuse for this whatsoever.”

Costa insisted the pricing is set by its partners.

A spokesman added: “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.”

Costa Coffee has ramped up prices inside it’s 94 hospital branches
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