A new government report has revealed that malnutrition leads to thousands of deaths on the NHS. The report quoted 2007 data saying some 229 patients had died in hospitals due to malnutrition that year.
"We know malnutrition predisposes to disease, delays recovery from illness and increases mortality," the report authors said. "It follows that the effect of malnutrition on mortality rates is substantially greater than the number reported." The report said these figures were probably just 0.5% of the actual numbers.
Shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien said the figure was likely closer to 50,000. "It is horrific. We've raised this issue many times but Labour ministers have dragged their feet and are doing very little about it," he added.
The Government has promised to follow recommendations in the report to address the issue.