The cost of malnutrition in the UK economic report

Our work has established that the cost of malnutrition in the UK stands at £19.6 billion, and that up front investment in implementing the current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) quality standard could yield £200 million in savings to the NHS annually.

Published by ourselves and the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN), this report builds on our work developing malnutrition screening tools and our involvement in NICE guidance development. Download summary and full versions from the links at right.

Key points

  • Malnutrition estimated to cost £19.6 billion in the UK annually (2011-12 figures).
  • Malnourished adults account for about 30% of hospital admissions, 35% of care home admissions, 15%t of outpatient clinic attendances and 10% of those presenting at their GP. 
  • Interventions to combat malnutrition in the small proportion of malnourished patients targeted by the NICE clinical guidelines/quality standard on nutritional support in adults save rather than cost money. The estimated net cost saving of £172.2–229.2 million is due to reduced healthcare use.
  • This cost analysis relates to the resource impact of implementing the NICE clinical guideline (CG32)/quality standard (QS24) on nutritional support in adults.
  • Significant upfront investment and effort will be needed to realise the savings.