Retailer WH Smith has agreed to bring its hospital shop prices in line with those of its high street stores.
It follows a campaign launched by Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff, who met WH Smith CEO Stephen Clarke.
Ms Sherriff said the newsagent chain had been ‘exploiting’ patients, visitors and staff by charging sometimes, almost double in its hospital stores.
A 750ml bottle of water cost £1.79 at Wakefield Pinderfields Hospital – compared to £1 at a Smith’s in Leeds city centre.
An A4 refill pad was £3.99 at the hospital – compared to £2.49 in the city centre store.
The company claimed higher costs were a result of increased operational costs, complex delivery arrangements and longer opening hours.
But Ms Sherriff, a former NHS worker, pointed out that chains such as Costa Coffee operating in hospitals charged the same as they did in their high street stores.
WH Smith has agreed to match its prices for all stationery goods and will stock a new range of ‘value’ greeting cards in their hospital shops.
The chain promised not to hike its food and drink prices by more than 2% in hospitals and to replicate offers made in its high street stores.
Labour member Ms Sherriff said: “This is a welcome first step for NHS patients, visitors and staff, who were frankly being exploited to boost the bottom line of some of Britain’s biggest businesses while the government looks the other way.
“It’s appalling that ministers have refused to act, but I will be meeting other retailers soon and I hope they will follow this lead.
“Whether it’s higher prices in the shops or charging for car parks, those who use or work in our hospitals are paying an unfair price and it’s about time to change it.”