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Tuesday 19th June 2018

Not enough being done to spot malnutrition

31st August 2010

The Age UK charity has said hospitals in the UK are not identifying which older patients are in danger of malnutrition.


The charity carried out a survey which polled 1,000 nurses and discovered around one third were not "confident" that malnourished patients would be identified by staff.

Less than 50% of the nurses polled said that their hospital carried out screenings of patients when they arrived in order to spot the condition.

According to a 2005 report, the NHS spends £7.3 billion on malnutrition annually. The condition can cause longer hospital stays and infections. 

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence made a recommendation in 2006 that all patients admitted to hospital should be tested for malnutrition and aid should be given to those patients suffering from the condition.

The Age UK poll showed that only 436 nurses said their hospital screened patients for malnutrition, and 294 said they were "not confident" that it would be identified by the screening.

Michelle Mitchell, from Age UK, said: "Not enough is being done to ensure that words are transferring into action on the wards."

"It is vital that the government, Care Quality Commission and NHS trusts fulfil their role in tackling this serious issue. The government must introduce compulsory monitoring so that this issue can be tackled effectively."


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