Friday, 22 January 2010
A national scandal
Now putting aside the fact that people who are malnourished shouldn't really be released from hospital, what do those figures mean? Well, either none of the 175,000 managed to get better nourishment during their stay (unlikely) or more likely, many more people than suspected actually develop malnutrition during their stay. Some 10,000 patients develop malnutrition in hospital having entered the system in a perfectly well nourished state.
I can well believe those figures. I entered hospital a fairly fit 47-year-old and left having lost 15% of my bodyweight, calcium deficient and in really poor general health. What chance do the frail and elderly stand? The food served is nutritionally questionable at best, but served in the unique way that only the NHS knows how. Mealtimes are a total turnoff. Add to that the lack of attention and lack of time for nurses to attend to those who find it difficult to feed themselves, and it's little wonder that we are looking at nothing short of a national scandal.
The time is over for celebrity chefs, reports and all the other time-wasting crap that usually passes for action in the NHS. The time has come for sanctions to be applied to health care trusts that starve and neglect their patients. Let's say £1000 off the Chief Exec's bonus for every malnourished patient discovered. That should concentrate a few minds. And if any trusts need some help on how to improve their food and how to encourage patients to eat it, then see me afterwards. Usual fat-cat consultancy rates apply!