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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Warning over “starving” patients

1 February, 2008  

The Government has been urged to do more to help the thousands of patients who are suffering from malnutrition in hospitals.

Speaking during question time in the House of Lords, Tory peer Baroness Knight of Collingtree voiced her concerns over “the recent report that 140,000 recently discharged patients were found to be suffering from malnutrition”.

And Labour peer Lord Winston said hospital staff need to do more to help some patients eat.

He said: “What actually happens in practice is that food is dumped in front of a patient at meal times who is not physically or mentally capable of feeding herself.

“Relatives are often unwelcome on the ward to help the patient. One of the real issues is to find ways of getting staff who can help patients to eat.

“Is there something the Government can do to stimulate health authorities and hospitals to do something about that?”

Baroness Thornton, for the Government, said it takes the issue very seriously.

She told peers: “Some patients are admitted at risk of malnutrition because of their condition. It is important that staff recognise patients at risk and take steps to improve their nutritional state. This is a priority and it has to be a priority.”

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House of Lords

Related story: Patients unhappy with UK hospital food

Your comments (Terms and conditions apply):

“I think relatives should be encouraged to help with patient care. It eases the workload of nurses who are trying to finish their nursing duties before the next shift of nurses. The handover times usually fall between 12:00 and 14:00 and these nurses are all in the office getting handover of patient care. You can imagine that those left outside the office might just be ward clerks. The nursing shift times should be changed from the current 07:00 to 16:40 and 13:00 to 21:00 shifts. I suggest American shifts hours.” – Name and adress supplied