At least 1,165 people starved to death while they were patients in Britain's National Health Service hospitals over the past four years.
Critics charge that nurses are too busy to properly feed their patients and often place food and drink out of reach, reports The Daily Mail
Figures from the Office for National Statistics also reveal that for every patient who died from malnutrition, four more died from dehydration, according to the newspaper.
In acknowledging the problem, Britain’s Department of Health said it plans to increase the number of unannounced inspections it conducts, calling the statistics “unacceptable.”
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In 2011 alone, 43 patients starved to death, while 291 died of severe malnutrition. Another 5,558 people were discharged from the hospital suffering from malnutrition.
Many patients were not given the proper treatment needed for their medical conditions, including not being fed through feeding tubes when medically necessary.
“Every NHS patient should expect to be looked after properly in (the) hospital,” a DHS spokeswoman said. “It is completely unacceptable if patients go hungry or are malnourished.”
The DHS also plans to make more funds available with the aim of allowing nurses to spend more time with patients.
“That means nursing rounds where senior nurses will have more time to check that patients are comfortable, are helped to eat and drink, and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” the spokeswoman said.
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