Hospitals accused of starving patients: Nutritional deficiencies 'increasing NHS costs'
One in 10 patients is malnourished, and if broader criteria for malnutriton are used the percentage is 40, Professor John Lennard-Jones, a leading gastro-enterologist, told a seminar in London.
Loss of appetite and difficulty in eating were common with illness, he said, but the problems were not fully appreciated by doctors or nurses. 'If someone becomes ill, all their symptoms are put down to their illness but many may be due to malnutrition.'
He said that everyone tended to assume that the weight loss in a cancer patient was caused by the cancer when it was partly to do with not receiving proper nutritional support.
Professor Lennard-Jones is chairman of the British Association of Parenteral (through a vein) and Enteral (directly to the gut) Nutrition, which is calling for the nutritional status and needs of all patients to be assessed when they are admitted to hospital.
Last year, a King's Fund Centre report found that pounds 266m a year could be saved from the NHS bill if malnutrition in patients was avoided. But only a third of hospitals have nutrition teams.
Dr Simon Allison, consultant physician at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, said that a hospital could save a great deal of money by providing proper nutrition management. 'In the absence of a nutrition team, 28 per cent of patients fed intravenously develop septicaemia. Expert teams reduce the complication to under 3 per cent. It has been calculated that the prevention of 16 episodes of such infection may save pounds 25,000 to pounds 80,000 per year.'
He said that nutrition management was where kidney treatment was 30 or 40 years ago.
Good nutrition will keep very ill people alive for longer, and modern nutritional support raises ethical questions. But his calculations show that in terms of recovery and quality of life, nutritional support is good value for money.
Patients who are able to digest their food but unable to eat normally can be fed via the nose directly into the stomach or bowel. Patients who cannot digest their food can be fed through a vein.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as 'one of the largest snowstorms in history' fails to show
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and well established busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Product Owner/Business Analyst is required t...
£28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...