The emergency department of a Greater Manchester hospital is attempting to help out with malnutrition.
As economic difficulties continue to be felt across the country, Tameside hospital in Greater Manchester will distribute food boxes discreetly to patients suffering from a risk of malnourishment.
The institution is also planning to open a permanent food bank collection centre inside the hospital, thus assisting with the nutrition of both patient and local residents.
This latest news came on the day in which the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced his intention to locate job advisors within food banks.
Managers at the hospital stated that the decision had been made due to the concern of both doctors and nurses working within the Tameside environment.
As the issue is set to become an increasing problem, staff have even been trained in order to recognise symptoms of malnutrition among patients.
This is not the first recent example of a hospital in Britain chipping in with food contributions to needy people.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham previously opened a food and clothing bank, while the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle began offering parcels to parents using its neonatal care unit recently.
Aside from offering food parcels, it is also intended for the hospital to collect food in order to distribute it in the surrounding region.
Organisers hope that this will prevent patients who have been recently discharged from returning a a few days later due to nutrition-related reasons.
In order to carry out this particular scheme, the hospital is working closely with the Trussell Trust.
This Christian charity has set up food banks all over the UK, particularly in areas of high deprivation.
The number of banks that the trust has become involved with has risen to 1,200 during the current calendar year.
It is planned that the Tameside hospital will ultimately have a central collection point attached to it scanteen.
This will enable staff, visitors and people in the local region to leave contributions.
Gwen Drain, the centre manager of the Tameside East food bank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network, said she was delighted by the hospital’s approach: “Today in Tameside there are families struggling to put food on the table. For people on low incomes, a sudden crisis – redundancy, benefit delay or even an unexpected bill – can mean going hungry. Every day parents skip meals to feed their children and people are forced to choose between paying the rent and eating.”
Malnutrition affects three million people in the UK and costs the NHS an estimated £5bn a year.