Costa Coffee has been criticized for adding a ‘surcharge’ of 10p to drinks in NHS cafes | UK News

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 7: Patients and staff use the Costa Coffee Shop at the recently opened Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital on February 7, 2011 in Birmingham, England. The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital has 1,213 beds and 30 operating rooms. The super hospital has a 100-bed intensive care unit - the largest in Europe - and the largest single-story intensive care unit in the world. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Getting a coffee from a hospital Costa Coffee branch can cost you 10p more (Picture: Getty)

A popular coffee chain has been criticized for increasing the price of its drinks in NHS outlets.

Costa Coffee branches in hospitals in a number of locations are charging an extra 10p for drinks, which is considered a “hospital tax” for those visiting sick relatives.

The chain has 94 concessions in UK hospitals, but while they charge £3.05 for a small latte at their branch in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, the same drink would cost £3.15 at the nearby Royal Victoria Infirmary, reports The Sun.

Similarly, at Costa Coffee at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex, a flat white will cost you £3.25 and a latte or cappuccino £3.15.

But the same drinks bought from the East Street branch just under a mile away are all 10p cheaper.

The disparity has been criticized by Dennis Reed, director of campaign group Silver Voices.

He said: “They know with long waits for patients and their loved ones that they have captive customers who need refreshments, so they’re charging a hospital surcharge.”

According to Costa Coffee, prices at its hospital outlets are set by its partners.

For example, the Royal Victoria Infirmary branch is operated by Medirest.

A Costa spokesman said: “It is not uncommon to find some Costa Coffee products at higher prices, reflecting the unique locations and the operational costs associated with those locations.”

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Justin Scaccy

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