Government petition started to save crucial service.
In light of new figures released by the Malnutrition Task Force the NACC (National Association of Care Catering) reaffirms its call to action to save Meals on Wheels services across the country.
A UK Government and Parliament petition, launched for Meals on Wheels Week, calls for the Meals on Wheels service to be protected in statutory law.
Meals on Wheels provides much needed human contact to people who might otherwise be totally isolated; Age UK state that the number of elderly people affected by social isolation to be around one million. The service doesn’t only combat malnutrition but loneliness as well, boosting mental wellbeing as well as physical health. People who would otherwise need to live in care homes can continue to lead independent lives in their own homes. The service provides dignity for people who might skip meals either because they are struggling financially, lack the strength to prepare meals daily or the mobility to get out to the shops or other food providers.
As of January 2015 over a third of the 212 top tier councils in the UK had stopped providing Meals on Wheels services to local residents, this includes nearly half of all London boroughs. The Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is likely to bring with it more swingeing cuts and as meals on wheels is not protected in statutory law it is often one of the first services to be cut by councils.
The NACC is calling on the Government to protect Meals on Wheels in statutory law.
Neel Radia, Chair of the National Association of Care Catering said:
“Removing this vital lifeline for elderly people not only puts more pressure on our hospitals and NHS staff but is also dangerous for those who rely on the service. Maintaining good nutrition and the human contact that comes with this is key to ensuring that our elderly are able to live independently in good health for as long as possible. Cutting this service puts vulnerable, elderly members of the community at risk and will also end up costing the country far more money. The service needs protecting in law and the NACC calls upon the Government to act immediately to do so.”
The NACC requires 100,000 signatures for the topic to be considered for debate in Parliament and urges all industry colleagues to pledge their support by signing the petition at http://www.thenacc.co.uk/events/Governmentpetition