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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