Less than half of health professionals (47%) feel confident they have the right knowledge and skills to help people at risk of malnutrition, according to a new survey.
The research from the Malnutrition Task Force also found half of the health professionals surveyed said they did not know what services and support were available in their community to help tackle malnutrition.
The Taskforce warns that malnutrition – which affects 1.3 million older people in the UK - is associated with several long term health conditions and an increased risk of death.
Dianne Jeffrey, chair of The Malnutrition Task Force and chairman of Age UK, said: ‘Malnutrition is a really knotty problem. While many of the interventions are relatively simple, to be really effective they require a wide range of services to come together, recognise the problem and each make a contribution towards tackling it.
‘However, at the moment the sad fact is in too many areas this isn’t happening. Malnutrition is often overlooked and isn’t tackled very effectively at any point in the care journey, so many people slip through the net and never receive proper help.’
The Malnutrition Task Force was given funding in 2013 to set up the Malnutrition Prevention Programme to demonstrate what can be achieved if organisations across different sectors work together.