Front line

The UK Malnutrition Awareness and Prevention Network (MAPN) is a network of key organisations involved in supporting the lives of older people and the provision of care across the nation including the National Association of Care Caterers, the Association of UK Dietitians and many more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people across the UK and Ireland in so many different ways including increasing food insecurity. It has also significantly increased the risk of malnutrition amongst vulnerable communities in the UK, which includes many older people and those from Black, Asian and Ethnic minority background. Specifically, malnutrition among older people has been one of the main challenges of the pandemic for the care sector.

In a bid to raise awareness of the exponential rise in malnutrition amongst vulnerable adults, a letter from MAPN was sent to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP. The objective was to force the government to take action to ensure that all population groups receive the support they need to eat well and stay alive. The letter was signed by over 100 dieticians, academics and other specialists working in the field of malnutrition, and sets out a range of key actions that are needed to stop many more people suffering the consequences of malnutrition.

HERE ARE THE MAIN POINTS THEY ARE CALLING ON THE GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS:

Ensure that all local authorities have ringfenced additional funding to continue with high quality food provision for people who may need to shield or self-isolate in the future, with suitable advice from dieticians

Ensure that local authorities have funding to establish long-term, sustainable solutions to malnutrition amongst over 65s, including meals on wheels services

Ensure that funding and support is made available for vital NHS dietetic services and third sector nutrition and food services, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond it

Fund a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition for at risk groups and their carers

Invest in proactive case-finding in order to locate and help individuals at risk and in an upstream, prevention-based approach to prevent people becoming food insecure in the first place

Prioritise nutrition as part of the NHS rehab pathways and support community malnutrition services to return as quickly as possible, albeit exploiting new technological solutions as much as possible

Urgently introduce a legally enshrined “Right to Food”, as laid out within the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural, Rights in the UK, to ensure the governments at both a national and local level take
appropriate action

To read the full letter visit

https://www.thenacc.co.uk/file/1999-RtHonMattHancockv2.pdf