Department of Health

Healthy Choices: policy directive and guidelines for health services

Updated Advice

The Department of Health and the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) acknowledge current pressures on Victorian health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are taking a flexible approach to implementing the Healthy choices policy directive. We congratulate and recognise the significant efforts and progress already made by health services towards meeting this policy. HEAS will continue to support and meet with all health services to assist them in their progress. Health services are encouraged to contact HEAS if they are having any difficulties meeting the Policy directive requirements.

The Healthy choices: policy directive and guidelines for health services aim to improve the availability and promotion of healthier food and drink options on hospital premises.

From mid-2021, health services are required to implement the Healthy choices: policy directive for Victorian public health services (Policy directive).

This Policy directive applies to in-house managed retail food outlets, all vending machines, all staff/event catering, and items purchased by staff and visitors from patient/resident menus within public health services.

In addition, health services are encouraged to continue implementing the Healthy choices: policy guidelines for hospitals and health services in their commercially/privately managed retail food outlets.

The Policy directive took a phased approach to implementation. Health services reported on Phase 1 (drinks) targets in 2022, and Phase 2 (both food and drinks) in 2023.

From 2024, the Department of Health will require ongoing annual reporting on the Healthy choices: policy directive. Reporting requirements will remain similar to 2023.

Health services’ progress on meeting the Phase 1 (drinks) targets is available in the Short Summary – 2022 results below.


Date published
27 Apr 2023

Reviewed 25 January 2024

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