Log In
Sunday 15th September 2019

Malnourished 'ignored'

12th September 2011

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, says more needs to done to help the millions of malnourished people that go unnoticed in the UK.


With so much attention on obesity, more action is needed to help people who are at risk of being malnourished in this country.

More than 3m people are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition and 93% of these patients are living in the community.

Most at risk are the elderly, housebound and those who have limited mobility and do not have a social support network in place.

These patients are also likely to visit their family doctor twice as often and once in hospital, their length of stay is increased by three days.

Patients discharged from hospital can fall through gaps and miss out on key support services.

Malnutrition costs the UK £13bn a year but treating it would go a long way to helping patients and also helping the NHS, already faced with making savings of £20bn by 2014.

Not enough is done to identify malnutrition in the community but simple monitoring and screening would help with basic and cheap weight checks at community centres, day centres and lunch clubs, or at home.

The new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will need to provide information on local malnutrition services from diagnosis to treatment, follow up and monitoring in the community.

We also want local authorities to ring-fence funding for community-based dietetics services and ensure that patients who need to see a dietician are able to do so.

The Department of Health must educate CCGs and local authorities to the financial cost of malnutrition and emphasise why prevention is so much cheaper than cure.


Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based applications for healthcare
© Mayden Foundation 2019