Child among 68 people with malnutrition in Glasgow hospitals

One or more boys aged four or under were among residents seen for the condition in 2022.

Child among 68 people with malnutrition in NHS Glasgow hospitals iStock

Nearly 70 people ended up in hospital or A&E with malnutrition in the Glasgow area in the last year.

One or more boys aged four or under were among 68 residents seen for the condition in 2022, freedom of information statistics show.

In 2021, 76 people were in hospitals with malnutrition according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) figures obtained by the local democracy reporting service.

The ages of the patients ranged from four and under to 85 and above in the past two years with a total of 144 people affected including 67 females and 77 males.

Malnutrition arises when people don’t get enough food or the right types of nutrients and symptoms include being underweight and feeling tired.

A Glasgow SNP spokesperson said: “No one should be forced to seek hospital treatment for malnutrition in 21st century Scotland.”

The statistics do not include the number of people going to GPs with the condition, so the figures are likely to be much higher.

The cost of living crisis means more people are struggling to put food on the table and afford electricity and gas to cook proper nutritious meals.

Just 13% of Scots believe their community is equipped to deal with the cost of living crisis, a poll has found.

Mandy Morgan chief executive of the Scottish Pantry Network said: “Malnutrition is about not having enough of the right food.”

More people have been turning to pantries, which offer food for a heavily discounted price, to get supplies.

She pointed out people who previously had to choose between eating and heating their homes can now do neither.

Ms Morgan said: “We are seeing a rise in people accessing the pantries every week. People are being squeezed. Gas and electricity is going up 50%.

“It is hitting everybody. Costs are increasing and interest rates are going up. There are people who have taken out mortgages and can’t afford gas or electricity. Costs are increasing and interest rates are rising,”

The pantries, with bases in Parkhead and Ruchazie among others, distribute surplus food from FareShare and have about 300 people visiting each every week.

The work of the pantries can extend to showing people how to cook and distributing slow cookers.

The Glasgow SNP spokesperson said a number of measures including the Scottish Child Payment, free school meals and the city’s fuel support programme are also helping.

Referring to the malnutrition figures, the spokesperson said: “This is yet another shameful and damning indictment of Tory austerity and their continuing assault on Glasgow’s poorest and most vulnerable. And of their culpability in the cost-of-living crisis which has forced up the price of food, energy and those essentials upon which every Scots household depends.”

The spokesperson called on the UK Government to “accept their responsibility and make sure citizens have access to adequate social security.”

Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr said: “These figures are extremely worrying and my thoughts are with those patients who ended up in A&E as a result.

“However, this typical attack from the SNP beggars belief on such a serious issue. The SNP-run council need to look closer to home.

“It is their failure to lobby their bosses in Edinburgh for a fair funding deal for our council that is having a devastating impact on day-to-day services that the most vulnerable in our communities rely on.”

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesperson said: “NHSGGC routinely, both in acute services and primary care, assess individual patients using the Malnutrition Screening Tool or MUST Tool which considers: body mass index (BMI), percentage weight loss in past six months, and disease effect. The MUST Score will inform the ongoing care planning for individual patients along with information on usual food and drinking patterns.”

The NHS website said: “Malnutrition is a serious condition that happens when your diet does not contain the right amount of nutrients.”

As well as undernutrition it can also include overnutrition – which can lead to obesity.

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