Tuesday, August 17, 2010

old and starving

Almost twice as many pensioners in the Lothians are admitted to hospital with malnutrition than anywhere else in Scotland, figures have shown. Latest figures show six malnourished people over the age of 65 are now being treated every week, a rise of around a dozen on last year. A mixture of care cutbacks and the increasing number of elderly residents in the area have been suggested for the cases.

Experts said the majority of victims would be elderly people who lived alone and were "under the radar" as far as local authority support services were concerned.

Phyllis Herriot, acting secretary of the Scottish Pensioners' Forum, said: "This is a very sad figure, and quite awful for those involved. It's horrible to think that this can happen in this day and age. There have been a lot of cutbacks, not just in Edinburgh but across the board. Sheltered Housing complexes are losing their wardens, home-help visits that used to be an hour are now cut to half an hour, and those that were half an hour are now 15 minutes. All these things can contribute to someone not getting what they need, and perhaps because of all this some people aren't getting picked up by the services who would have been before"

The next closest health board for malnutrition numbers was Glasgow, where there were 166 cases. In neighbouring Fife there were 67 cases and 38 incidents in the Borders

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