Dr Mike Stroud, BAPEN with Martyn Lewis
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Dr Mike Stroud, BAPEN with Martyn Lewis

March 8, 2020

Dr Stroud, malnutrition not a problem
for the developed world I would have thought. Well unfortunately it is. There’s an awful lot of it about. With enormous numbers of people
affected because of social isolation, poverty and the fact that when people are ill
even if they come from a good starting point they get malnourished pretty quickly, it’s part of illness. So how many people in Britain would be
malnourished? Well we’re talking about millions of people in total. Millions? Yes. and certainly if you look at a hospital experience then 30 to 40 percent of people going
into hospital are malnourished when they arrive at the door. What impact does malnutrition have? Why is it so important to address it? Well it makes you very vulnerable. It is both a cause and a consequence of disease. If you’re malnourished you become ill more easily. If you’re ill you become
malnourished and you can get a vicious cycle and you’re trying to break it. So what is BAPEN calling for, what needs
to change? Well it needs to be appreciated that is
a big problem. It needs to be actually looked for and spotted. We talk about screening for malnutrition. Once you have found the people who are at risk you have to have a specific pathway outlined for their care. The professional staff, all clinical staff and managers need to know about it and you need some structures to make it all work so that it’s an important part of all aspects of care in all settings. It would seem extraordinary that they
don’t know about it already that they don’t give it at least some priority? Well it has gone up the agenda to some extent, but it’s been completely overshadowed by obesity for example and yet actually it cost the NHS more than obesity does and it is simpler to do
something about it So in the current recessionary climate
it could be something that would save the NHS a lot of money as well as addressing the particular need? Yes it’s thought to cost £13 billion a year in excess costs if you can save 10 percent of that, 1.3 billion that’s a significant health saving. And are you getting a good response from the Government? Well the Government are aware of the problem and some of the ministers that have recently
taken up posts are certainly aware of it. The chief nursing officer has said, this is one of the key high impact factors to deal with it. NICE have recently pronounced that this is one of the key areas for making savings. So yes, it’s beginning to get there but they need to know more about it and do more about it. And what are the main ways in which
BAPEN is addressing its aim to tackle this problem? Well, we’re trying to get it at the
politicians, all the hospital managers and the clinical professionals and the patients
so that everyone appreciates the significance and everyone is
thinking about this so that it happens. It’s not rocket
science, it can happened relatively easily if people are aware of it. How are you making people aware of it? Well our organisation is growing we produce documents to show that there’s a lot of it around, we do an annual Nutrition Screening Week which actually gets to the prevalence and says, look, there’s 30 percent of hospital patients, have got the problem. We make recommendations to Government, The Department of Health
saying this is the way to tackle it and that is the way you should approach
the commissioning of services so that all services have it as an integral embedded part. And we’re trying to make a noise every where we can. so that people recognise this major
major problem that is worth spotting. Are you surprised that in Britain in
this day and age there is a need for a charity like yours? Well I’m frankly astonished, I think it’s
a disgrace that nutrition isn’t recognised as a more important part of patient care Florence Nightingale spotted it and it really should have continued from there.

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