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Malnutrition on the rise

16th March 2011

A patient survey has found that more than a third of people admitted to hospital in the UK are at risk of malnutrition.

Old Hands

The nutrition charity BAPEN surveyed almost 10,000 patients and discovered a significant rise in malnutrition among people admitted from their own homes.

The figure of 30% is 4% up on previous surveys.

It fears that cuts in meals-on-wheels and other community services are likely to put extra pressure on hospitals.

BAPEN chairman Dr Mike Stroud said: “It’s a false economy to be making cuts out in the community that are going to make people more vulnerable to malnutrition, with them ending up in hospitals where it costs a fortune to look after them, even for a short stay.”

The alert from BAPEN coincides with a warning from the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) about cuts in funding for local food services in London, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, Hampshire and Nottinghamshire.

However, the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said councils had to make savings in the light of massive shortfalls but that it was misleading to focus on a specific service “as a barometer of a council's approach to care.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government said councils could protect frontline services by sharing back office services.

A spokesman said: “Driving down the nation's deficit is the government's biggest priority but we have made sure that extra money, powers and funding freedoms are available to protect front-line services and the public from council tax rises offering real help to hard working families and pensioners.”

 

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