AT least 38 people needed hospital intervention in Barrow for malnourishment over the last three years, amid warnings more adults cannot afford to feed themselves.

The number of patients treated for extreme weight loss as the primary diagnosis at Furness General Hospital has increased for the last two years.

Figures revealed through Freedom of Information laws show 24 men were admitted to the Barrow hospital over the last three years, five in 2013, seven in 2014 and 12 in 2015.

The exact number of women admitted to the hospital over the same period is unclear, as the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust could only confirm the figure for 2013 was between one and four.

However, medical reports show five women were admitted in 2014 and eight in 2015.

Possible implications

Although no breakdown of patient ages is available, there are concerns that malnutrition may be going undetected especially among elderly people.

Ann Mills, project manager at Barrow Foodbank, said: "I wouldn't be surprised if they are elderly.

"We are really doing our best to find out which client sector we are not meeting the needs of and the elderly is one.

"We are trying to alleviate food poverty. We have a responsibility to the community to look after those who are struggling to provide food for themselves.

"We are aware that there's malnutrition in the community and that the boxes of food we give out might not suit everybody but they are nutritionally balanced meals. It has been worked out by a dietitian."


Symptoms of malnutrition include more frequent infections, joint pain and delayed wound healing, and in extreme cases Kwashiorkor, a swelling under the skin.

According to NHS Choices, having a body mass index of under 18.5 could be a sign that a person is at high risk of being malnourished. 

Also, adults who lose five to 10 per cent of their body weight within three to six months could be at risk of malnourishment.


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