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Community warning over malnutrition

Cutting community services will put extra pressure on hospitals from a rise in malnutrition cases, according to a report.

Nutrition charity, BAPEN, has found that more than one in three patients admitted to UK hospitals in a survey of 10,000 people were at risk of malnutrition.

The group said it was particularly concerned by an increase in malnutrition among people admitted from their own homes, with 30% of them found to be at risk compared with 26% in the previous two surveys.

Patients are routinely screened for risk of malnutrition when they are admitted to hospital and the findings of the BAPEN report indicate that the problems may be getting worse. More than one in three were found to be at risk, which was higher than in previous surveys, although this was the first to be carried out in winter.

Chairman, Dr Mike Stroud, said it was essential that community services and professionals recognised the importance of combating malnutrition.

He added: "Clearly 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."

Copyright © Press Association 2011