User groups have attacked the government’s decision to disband the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board.
This is despite a report warning that leadership in the health and social care sectors was required on ending malnutrition in care homes and hospitals.
The report by the board was submitted to the Department of Health last summer but has been held back by the DH while it formulated a response.
Today the DH pledged to take action on identifying how it engaged with health and social care professionals over nutrition.
Michelle Mitchell, director of Age Concern and Help the Aged, dubbed this a “talking shop”.
She said: “The failure of health ministers to lay out any concrete actions to tackle the problem will mean this scandal will continue. Ending malnutrition has been reduced to a talking shop by the government.”
The delivery board’s report stated that 600,000 people in care homes were at risk of malnutrition.
But Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, said: “This report is misleading in that it implies that all residents in care homes are susceptible to malnutrition. On this basis, the entire population of hospitals would be similarly vulnerable.”
He added that care homes had a good record of maintaining the nutrition levels of residents.
Care services minister Phil Hope said: “This report shows progress that has been made but more needs to be done.”
He added: “We are taking forward a series of measures to ensure that frontline staff are supported to make good nutritional care a priority.”
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party has claimed that 50,000 patients die from malnutrition in hospital each year, a figure that Hope disputes.