A new survey has found malnutrition is a serious risk among people being brought into hospital from their own homes.
Nutrition charity BAPEN conducted the study - which involved nearly 10,000 people.
The charity has warned that reducing community services such as meals-on-wheels could result in hospitals being put under more strain.
The results of the survey indicate that malnutrition is getting worse, despite routine screenings of patients when they are admitted to hospital.
Overall BAPEN found that the risk of malnutrition has increased from previous surveys to more than one in three people, though this particular study was the first to be conducted over winter.
In the last two surveys, 26% of people admitted to hospital from their own homes were at risk, while the latest results indicate that this is now more than 30%.
The charity has said it is key that the importance of tackling malnutrition is recognised among community services and professionals.
BAPEN chairman, Dr Mike Stroud, added: “Clearly it’s a false economy to be making cuts out in the community that are going to make people more vulnerable to malnutrition, with them ending up in hospitals where it costs a fortune to look after them, even for a short stay.”
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