BAPEN’s approach to fighting malnutrition in the UK has been wide ranging and comprehensive. BAPEN has recognised the need to engage with ALL stakeholders, including the public, patients, health and social care professionals, charities, Industry, government and regulators to maximise awareness of the problem and to embed good nutritional care in all settings.

The success of this approach is evident in many areas. The following are just a few of the more notable examples:

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for Care Services, welcomes BAPEN’s ‘Malnutrition Matters’ Nutritional Care Commissioning Toolkit:
"I welcome the leadership shown by BAPEN and many other respected organisations that collaborated in developing this resource and I hope that care providers and commissioners will use it locally to make sure older people receive the nutritional care they are entitled to."

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for Care Services, welcomes BAPEN’s ‘Malnutrition Matters’ Nutritional Care Commissioning Toolkit:
"I welcome the leadership shown by BAPEN and many other respected organisations that collaborated in developing this resource and I hope that care providers and commissioners will use it locally to make sure older people receive the nutritional care they are entitled to."


BAPEN has achieved this by addressing the problem on many fronts. Some of these are explained in more detail below.

Data collection and analysis

The British Artificial Nutrition Survey (BANS) has been collecting data on patients on artificial nutrition in hospital and in the community since 1996.  These data are then analysed and reported, both by region and nationally. A report is published annually to ensure the findings are widely disseminated.

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BAPEN’S Nutrition Screening Weeks were established in 2007 to establish the prevalence of malnutrition in adults on admission to care across the UK. Four screening weeks have now taken place across all four seasons and detailed reports have been written on each. The results are based on a total of 31634 patients who were screened on admission to hospital, 3604 who were admitted to care homes and 1206 admitted to mental health institutions. The final amalgamated Hospital Reports were published in 2014 and the amalgamated Care Home Report was published in 2015.

BAPEN’s Health Economic Report in 2005 was a wake-up call for all involved in nutritional care – the estimated cost of malnutrition of £7.3 billion being far greater than the costs associated with obesity Click here to read more

BAPEN’s “Combating Malnutrition” report, published in 2008, estimated that public expenditure on disease-related malnutrition in the UK in 2007 was more than £13 billion a year Click here to read more

In November 2015, a new report published by the National Institute for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Southampton BRC) and the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN), estimated that the cost of malnutrition in both adults and children in England in 2011-12 was £19.6 billion and is only set to increase with an aging population and the rising cost of health and social care. This new figure represents almost a 50% increase in estimated costs compared with the £13 billion stated in the 2007 report. Click here to read more

Development of tools

'MUST' Toolkit

BAPEN launched the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (‘MUST’) in 2003 to help identify adults who are underweight and at risk of malnutrition, as well as those who are obese. The tool underwent rigorous evaluation in hospital and community settings and was found to be easy to perform and reliable. ‘MUST’ has been widely adopted and is now the most widely used nutritional screening tool in the UK. It is also commonly used in other countries worldwide.

‘MUST’ continues to be developed to meet the needs of patients and health professionals – there is ‘MUST’ calculator available on the website which can be used on all devices.

E-learning modules have been developed to support the use of ‘MUST in both the community and in hospitals. Click here to read more


BAPEN has produced many reports, setting standards and advising on best practice, on all aspects relating to the identification and management of patients who are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Topics covered include:

  • The detection and management of malnutrition
  • Hospital food as treatment
  • Enteral tube feeding
  • Parenteral feeding (directly into the bloodstream) in adults and children
  • The ethics of nutrition support
  • The health economics of malnutrition, its consequences and its treatment
  • The organisation of nutritional support in hospitals
  • Improving nutritional care from the patients’ and carers’ perspective
  • Policy and action recommendations

Click here to read more

National Conferences

  • BAPEN holds an annual conference that covers all aspects of nutritional care. This allows networking and the dissemination of best practice in nutritional care and encourages participation in education and research.
  • DDF 2015 was the second combined conference of five societies and associations in the field of digestive disorders that replaced their annual conferences in that year:
    • The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI)
    • Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons (AUGIS)
    • British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN)
    • British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL)
    • British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)
  • BAPEN members are often invited to speak at meetings of other professional societies at home and abroad
  • BAPEN members are also invited to speak at conferences on the delivery of all aspects of care
  • Teaching days are also held at the annual conference, bringing together all professions with an interest in nutrition and updating them with the latest thinking on topics of interest in nutritional care
  • Each of BAPEN’s Core groups also hold their own annual conference, maximising the opportunity for education and networking

Click here to read more

Regional meetings

  • Most regions also hold an annual meeting or teaching day, to enable access to those who can’t get to the annual conference and allow networking locally


BAPEN issues regular press releases and briefings on topics that are relevant to nutritional care – either relating to BAPEN activities, or responding to events

BAPEN actively seeks to engage with MPs and ministers – responding eagerly to the call from Downing Street in 2000 and more recently working towards setting up an All-party Parliamentary Group in Nutrition – shortly to become the Nutrition and Hydration action Alliance and calling for Andrew Lansley to work collaboratively to eliminate avoidable malnutrition through the development of a malnutrition strategy and the appointment of a national clinical director to lead this work.

Partnership working

BAPEN works with all professional groups that have an interest in nutritional care and BAPEN members will often represent BAPEN on the working parties of other professional societies or organisations (for example the Royal College of Physicians, the British Society of Gastroenterology, NICE and recently in the production of the consensus guidelines on peri-operative fluid management (GIFTASUP) , the Association for Clinical Biochemistry, the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, the Society of Academic and Research Surgery, the Renal Association and the Intensive Care Society).

  • BAPEN works with numerous governmental and non-governmental organisations to produce reports. For example the report on “Screening for malnutrition in sheltered housing” was produce in association with Accent Group, City of Westminster Housing and Care, Essential Role of Sheltered Housing (ERoSH), Harrogate Neighbours, National Association of Care Catering (NACC), Nutricia UK and Richmond Housing Partnership. The “Nutrition Action Plan” included partners such as age Concern, British Medical Association, Caroline Walker Trust, Commission for Social Care Inspection, Council of Europe Alliance, English Community Care association (ECCA) and many others.
  • BAPEN responds actively to any consultation documents relating to nutritional care – for example that on the Department of Health outcomes framework recently
  • BAPEN actively promotes the involvement of its members in working parties – for example Professor Marino Elia is chairing the development of a NICE quality standard on nutritional care and Professor Mike Stroud chaired the guideline development group for the NICE guideline “Nutrition Support in Adults” and is now chairing the NICE guideline development group for IV Fluids

Education initiatives

e-learning keyboard
  • BAPEN continues to develop a wide range of educational initiatives, e-learning, tools and resources. All of these can be found in the Information and Resources section of this website.


One of the key benefits for BAPEN members is the opportunity to network with colleagues who are also working in the field of nutritional support. Networking opportunities lead to many benefits including opportunities to get involved in the work of BAPEN committees, development of new resources, planning the conference and regional events, collaborative research and perhaps most importantly sharing of best practice. If you are not already a BAPEN member, click here for more information.

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