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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 42, Issue 6
In response to Andrew Lansley’s promise that NHS hospital food will improve, BAPEN calls for the Health Secretary to work directly with them to eliminate avoidable malnutrition in England. Although BAPEN welcomes the government’s promise, it warns that hospital food is only part of the problem and that – what is needed, is a national malnutrition and hydration strategy to improve all aspects of nutrition provision across the NHS and Social Care. This will not be achieved if the focus is limited to hospital food alone. It is clear to BAPEN that there are some key gaps in nutritional care that need to be addressed as a priority. In BAPEN’s Nutrition Screening Week surveys, it was reported that: “The high prevalence of malnutrition on admission to hospital and during a hospital stay is not a trivial problem that can be ignored and is not, as commonly cited, a problem caused by hospital food”.
Dr Ailsa Brotherton, BAPEN’s Honorary Secretary said: “There is a clear need for system-wide approaches and improvement to detect malnutrition early in both community and acute settings and to ensure that individuals who are “at risk” receive appropriate nutritional care. In addition to appropriate, good quality hospital food, good nutritional care includes nutritional screening (and repeat screening as appropriate), a detailed nutritional assessment for “at risk” patients and the development and implementation of an appropriate personalised nutritional care plan, which may include oral nutritional supplements, enteral tube feeding or in some cases parenteral nutrition. Developing highly reliable systems of integrated nutritional care has become a priority focus for BAPEN and we are developing a number of resources, including a Nutrition Improvement Guide that will help NHS and Social Care organisations to deliver improved care. However, to deliver improvements at pace and scale, BAPEN recognises the importance of the Department of Health developing a national nutrition and hydration strategy and the appointment of a National Clinical Director for Malnutrition to lead this work for the NHS”.