Malnutrition Matters: A Commitment to Act
A three-step guide to improving nutritional care in England

March 17th 2014: BAPEN launches a new easy to use guide ‘Malnutrition Matters: A Commitment to Act’, designed to bring much needed clarity to where responsibility for commissioning and delivering good nutritional care lies in England.  The Guide sets out clear and simple priorities for each level of the health and social care system and targets national, regional and local influencers, providers, carers and patients (listed below):

  • Government (national and local)
  • NHS England
  • Public Health England
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Health Education England
  • Commissioners
  • Hospitals and staff
  • Community Health and Social Care
  • GPs
  • Community Pharmacists
  • Local Education and Training Boards
  • Local Health Watch
  • Carers and Patients

The Guide has been developed and launched for a number of important reasons:

1. Failings in nutritional care as highlighted in the Francis Report are not unique to Mid Staffordshire and it is vital that learnings are taken from this to ensure that all hospital patients and individuals in the health and social care systems receive better nutritional care.

2.  Developing and delivering an integrated nutritional care pathways is hugely complex and should not be underestimated.

3. Nutritional Care and the Patient Voice: Are we being listened to? a new  jointly authored report  published by BAPEN and PINNT (March 2014) with involvement and endorsement from nine other patient organisations, confirms that patients and carers feel little progress has been made in delivering improved patient-centred care and with some feeling there has been a recent deterioration in care.

4. The results of the five Nutrition Screening Week (NSW) Reports published by BAPEN (March 2014) which cover the UK as a whole and its four nations suggest that there is considerable room for improvement in how hospitals identify malnutrition and communicate the results to the community, so that there is continuity of treatment  and care for patients.

"BAPEN, driven by the failings identified by Francis and inspired by the recommendations of Berwick, is committed to the improvement of nutritional care. In November 2013, we dedicated the opening symposium at our annual conference to three of the priorities identified by Berwick; listening to patients, leadership and the measurement of improvement over time. And since then we have worked with our members and national partner organizations to develop this guide which is focused on taking action." Ailsa Brotherton, BAPEN Quality Group

The guide sets out three recommendations for commissioning and delivering good nutritional care across all the involved organisations.  The recommendations have been based upon the guidance set out by Don Berwick in his report; ‘A Promise to Learn, A Commitment to Act’ with a specific focus on the actions he identified:

  • Place the quality of patient care, especially patient safety, above all other aims
  • Engage, empower and hear patients and carers at all times
  • Foster whole-heartedly the growth and development of all staff, including their ability and support to improve the processes in which they work
  • Embrace transparency unequivocally and everywhere, in the service of accountability, trust and the growth of knowledge.’

“We have always said that good nutritional care is everyone’s responsibility but until now have  failed to specify exactly who should do what within the  system. This guide addresses that problem and is easy to use as we have defined the top three priority actions for every level of care. Patients and carers, professionals and organisations simply need to go the part of the guide that relates to them and take action.

There has been a culture in our health and social care organisations of accepting poor processes and falling well short of designing the best, highly reliable systems. We are committed to working with patients, national partners, commissioners and provider organisations to place the quality of patient care, especially patient safety, above all other aims” Dr Mike Stroud, Chair of BAPEN’s Quality Group

Malnutrition Matters: A Commitment to Act is straightforward and easy to use. It has been designed so users simply go to the section that relates to them and take action. A wide range of supporting education and resources to support the recommendations in the Guide are also available from the BAPEN website:

BAPEN is making an electronic version of the guide freely available to download here. BAPEN will be providing copies of the Guide to the Government, NHS England, the Department of Health, Royal Colleges and patient organisations. In addition the electronic version will be distributed to acute trusts, CSUs, CCGs and social care organisations.

For more information, interviews and comment:
Philippa Cahill, on 07958 360 112, via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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