Andrew Percy – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Percy on 2015-11-16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to reduce poor nutrition among elderly people (a) in general and (b) in nursing and care homes.

Alistair Burt

Public Health England (PHE) advocates a healthy food provision for all regardless of age, including those who are undernourished. This is a selection of food and drink which meets daily nutrient needs in a healthier more sustainable way.

PHE has published a range of catering guidance and supporting tools offering practical advice to support healthier and more sustainable food provision across a range of settings. This includes a toolkit for serving food to older people (including those in residential settings or community settings where older people may receive support, such as “meals on wheels” and take part in social activity such as lunch clubs).

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care providers in England. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, all providers of regulated activities have to register with the CQC and follow a set of fundamental standards of safety and quality, below which care should never fall. Regulation 14 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, requires registered providers to meet nutritional and hydration needs.

This fundamental standard requires that a service user receives suitable and nutritious food and hydration which is adequate to sustain life and good health. Care providers need to take into account the service users preferences or their religious or cultural background. Service users should also receive support to eat and drink if necessary.

The CQC inspects providers to see if they are meeting these fundamental standards and provides clear direction on areas that require improvement. The CQC has a wide range of enforcement powers if a provider fails to meet the fundamental standards.