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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether Southampton General Hospital has signed an exclusivity agreement with a company to provide food from two outlets on the site; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in December 2006 makes it clear that the national health service should set an example in developing public health policies, including promoting healthy food and drink choices. This will include restaurants, vending machines and other food outlets whether directly provided by the organisation or by third parties.
NHS trusts are locally responsible for decisions relating to the provision of all food to patients, staff and visitors. NHS trusts are encouraged to generate income by making best use of their assets and this can include the provision of retail services of the type to which the hon. Gentleman refers. The precise contractual arrangements will depend on the individual scheme and the local situation.