Preventing malnutrition in later life

Purbeck in Dorset

Description of area

Lovely Purbeck peopleThe pilot has been launched as an older population combined with limited access to facilities means the risk of malnutrition in Purbeck is high.

In 2009, the total population of Purbeck was estimated at 45,300, with more than 24% of these people coming from the 65+ age group, significantly higher than the national average of 19.5%.

Life expectancy – around 81 years for males and 86 years for females – is around two years longer than the national average.

Along with an older population, Purbeck is predominantly rural and suffers from limited access to services. This is highlighted by 41% of the 29 ‘output areas’ (i.e. localities as defined by the census) in Purbeck being amongst the 20% most deprived in England for access to services. Currently, 68% of villages have no general store, and since 2005, three rural post offices and one urban one together with two rural petrol stations have closed.


It is aimed to put Purbeck at the forefront of excellent nutritional care by:

  • Piloting the Home and Community and GP Care Pathways that have been drawn up by the Dorset Nutritional Care Partnership
  • Raising awareness of the dangers of malnutrition and dehydration and highlight the tell-tale signs.
  • Informing the public of services available to help them if they feel they or someone they know may be at risk of malnutrition
  • Improving the nutritional care and health and wellbeing of adults within Dorset
  • Reducing the related costs of malnutrition in Dorset through prevention of malnutrition

Participating organisations

 The following partners are involved in the pilot:

  • Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Public Health Dorset
  • Dorset County Council
  • Supported by Wessex Area Health Science Network

Projects and Progress (as of May 2015)


  • A start-up event called An appetite for Change in Purbeck went ahead during August 2014

Internet Grocery Home Shopping Training Sessions

  • Held two free internet grocery home shopping training sessions
  • These cover how to set up an account, shop for groceries and other essentials, create a regular shopping list, book a delivery time and pay for shopping securely and safely

Raising awareness in the community

  • Running information sessions in health settings for staff


  • Running training workshops for health, social work and community professionals that work in Purbeck
  • Training up to 75 professionals at these workshops on how to implement pathways of care, complete a MUST score and record a MUST score on the new online database
  • Since the training, 113 people have been MUST screened in Purbeck between December and February
  • 2 of the 113 had the highest score of 4 (meaning they had a ‘high risk’ of malnutrition). They were screened by teams who were not screening prior to the training

MUST screening database

  • Created a new electronic MUST database
  • Older people’s MUST score can be logged on this and it can be accessed by GP’s across the county


For general enquires about the partnership and the project contact either:

Sue Hawkins, Care Catering Services Manager, Dorset County Council
Tel: 01305 225930


Michelle Smith, Health Programme Advisor, Dorset Public Health
Tel: 01305 225703


Gary Finch, Dorset POPP Locality Manager, Help and Care
Tel: 0300 111 3303

For media enquiries, please contact:

Karin Engdahl, ‎Public Relations Officer, Dorset County Council
Telephone: 01305 224316


Nutritional Care Strategy and resources, Dorset for You


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