Shocking figures should be a wake-up call for the city, says Director Vic Borrill.
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership has called for a malnutrition task force for the city. This follows the release of figures showing that malnutrition was listed on more than 350 death certificates in England and Wales in 2016.
Vic Borrill, Director of Brighton and Hove Food Partnership said: “Like many we were shocked by these figures that one older person a day dies in hospital from malnutrition. People are dying because they haven’t had a proper dinner.
“In Brighton & Hove there are pockets of good practice – the Food Partnership and Age UK have worked together to produce a booklet for older people and their carers on preventing malnutrition, the best care agencies train their staff in spotting signs of malnutrition, the Red Cross and Possability People work on hospital discharge, and the dietetics team at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) NHS Trust work with care homes on malnutrition screening.
“But there is a lack of co-ordinated action and these reports should be a wake-up call for the city.
“The city needs the Health and Wellbeing Board to show leadership and pull together a malnutrition task force that brings together the Clinical Commissioning Group, BSUH, Adult Social Care, Public Health, Healthwatch and the Voluntary and Community sector who all have parts to play. The group can work together to examine the evidence of what is working and failing in the city in order to ensure that malnutrition is prevented, identified and treated and that no-one dies due to something as basic as nutritious meals.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show malnutrition was the underlying cause or a contributory factor in 351 deaths in NHS hospitals in England and Wales. It was cited as the underlying cause of 66 deaths, up from 59 the previous year and the highest number in the last decade.
The Food Partnership gave evidence late last year to the All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into hunger and malnutrition amongst older people. It called for a statutory requirement for good food provision for all health and social care providers, to prevent food slipping down the agenda.
The Food Partnership has produced a free booklet, ‘Eating Well to Stay Healthy as you Age’ for elderly people, their family, friends and carers. It offers advice on danger signs to look for as well as tips on how to prevent becoming undernourished, including eating healthily on a budget and cooking for one. This can be downloaded at http://bhfood.org.uk/eat-well-as-you-age/, or a hard copy obtained by ringing the Partnership on 01273 431700.
For further information call Jess or Naomi on 01273 431700.