BSNA welcome growing support for National Clinical Director for Nutrition campaign
The British Specialist Nutrition Association respond to an opinion article by Lord Aberdare, where he argues that more must be done to tackle malnutrition in the UK.
With the number of adults being admitted to hospital with malnutrition having more than doubled in the last decade, and one in three people in care homes and one in ten visiting their GP either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, it is important that the role of good nutritional care across health and social care is recognised. While there is now some attention on hospital food with the recently announced national review, for many the problem is caused by an illness that prevents them from eating or absorbing nutrients normally. For these patients, what is often needed is properly administered specialist nutrition, whether they are in hospital, in care homes or in their own homes.
Currently, responsibility for nutritional care across health and social care, including the assessment and identification of patients at risk of malnutrition and appropriate management, is spread across a number of organisations and roles. As malnutrition continues to increase, BSNA fully supports Lord Aberdare’s call for the appointment of a National Clinical Director for Nutrition within NHS England. As the new Integrated Care Systems (ICS) continue to develop, each ICS should also appoint a board level clinical director for nutrition, with decision making power, to ensure appropriate nutritional care is embedded across all settings and for all patients at risk of malnutrition. This is a vital step in improving care for those in need of nutritional support.