Fewer hospital admissions for malnutrition at UCLH

Fewer hospital admissions for malnutrition were recorded in University College London Hospitals Trust last year, new figures show – despite a national increase.

By Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

Crates of fresh vegetables
Photo: RADAR

Fewer hospital admissions for malnutrition were recorded in University College London Hospitals Trust last year, new figures show – despite a national increase.

It comes as the Food Foundation charity said the rising number of hospital admissions for malnutrition across England “ring alarm bells” about the consequences of escalating food insecurity.

NHS England figures show there were about 100 hospital admissions at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with a secondary or primary diagnosis of malnutrition in the year to March 2023.

It was down from an estimated 160 hospital admissions recorded the year before. These figures are rounded to the nearest five.

Additionally, a malnutrition diagnosis does not necessarily equate to having a lack of food. The admissions include those for dietary issues, an inability to absorb nutrients or other diseases affecting the patient’s ability to feed normally.

Looking at the 127 trusts across England with sufficient data, the number of hospital episodes where a patient was diagnosed with malnutrition – primarily protein deficiencies – reached roughly 10,795 last year.

It was a slight increase from 10,660 in 2021-22 and the highest number since at least 2009-10, when some 3,490 hospital admissions were recorded.

Ana Maria Narvaez, Food Foundation senior policy and advocacy officer, said: “The latest NHS figures on malnutrition-related hospital admissions ring alarm bells about the dire health consequences of escalating food insecurity.”

“The ongoing impact of the cost-of-living crisis, accentuated by high food prices, jeopardises families’ ability to afford enough nutritious food,” she added.

Data from the Food Foundation’s food insecurity tracker estimates 17% of households in the UK – about nine million adults and nearly four million children – are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious, healthy food.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said the rising number of malnutrition cases is “unacceptable” in a developed nation like the UK.

She added: “As we’ve seen fresh, healthier foods spike in price and become unaffordable for a substantial proportion of our most vulnerable patients, we’ve seen an inevitable impact on their physical health.”

She said the Government must consider how to promote cheap and nutritious alternatives to fast food, alongside sufficient funding and support for general practice.

A Government spokesperson said: “Our healthy food schemes are providing a nutritional safety net for more than three million children.

“In addition, our extensive cost of living support – worth on average £3,700 per household – is helping those on low incomes with the cost of essentials, including food and energy bills.”

AdBlocker Message

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

About EC1 Echo

EC1 Echo is your free local independent community news website. We publish stories to the web across the week and offer a platform for local people to highlight what matters to them. EC1 Echo is a not-for-profit project in partnership with the Peel Institute. Please consider becoming a subscriber supporter from £3.00 per month.
We need your help

Submit your listing here