Congratulations to Salford who are celebrating after winning a national award for its continuing efforts to combat malnutrition amongst older people in the city.
The Salford Malnutrition Task Force Prevention Programme site collected the 2016 excellence in public health and wellbeing award at the House of Commons in late June.
The Salford site is made up of representatives of the Salford Together partnership of NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, Salford City Council, Salford Royal, Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health and from Age UK Salford, who provide further links to the community and voluntary sector.
Together this group has taken a ‘Food First’ approach to tackle malnutrition, developing many tools to aid and assist those who might have malnutrition or be in danger of becoming malnourished.
One of these tools was the nationally-recognised PaperWeight Armband, which is a low-cost, non-medical and non- intrusive tool that is slipped around a person’s non-dominant upper arm. If it slides up and down, it could indicate a sign of malnutrition, with specialists suggesting an upper arm measurement of less than 23.5cm, meaning likely your Body Mass Index (BMI) is less than 20 kg/m².
A BMI of less than 20 kg/m² is the cut-off point for being underweight and therefore at risk of being malnourished.
Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South – who nominated the Salford site for the award – said: “The commitment and hard work of the Salford Malnutrition Task Force is making a real difference to older people’s health in the local area and is being shared nationally.
“The work is having a positive impact on the local NHS services which has led to a reduction in hospital admission for malnutrition.”
Dave Haynes, chief executive of Age UK Salford, collected the award from Jane Ellison MP – Minister for Public Health and whose portfolio the awards fall under.
Mr Haynes said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all of those who have made the Salford Malnutrition Task Force such a success.
“These awards aim to celebrate the achievement of those tackling health challenges in their communities.
“Whilst we continue to have success in our development of tools, such as the Paperweight Armband and also the Green Booklet, which we’ve modelled with local people into language that they understand to say ‘what can you do if you want to fortify a diet?’, we refuse to be complacent in our efforts to improve the health of our communities.”
Kirstine Farrer, head of innovation and research at Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and consultant dietician at Salford Royal, said: “We are thrilled to receive this accolade from Public Health England and wish to thank Mrs Barbara Keeley MP for nominating us.
“We remain passionate about working in partnership to address malnutrition across the city.
“Whilst developing the Salford Together PaperWeight Armband, I never thought for one moment it would receive such an overwhelmingly positive reception nationally.
“Having the opportunity to work with Age UK Salford and the integrated care programme in the city just demonstrates what can be achieved when you align health care and third sector.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, commented: “One of the things we constantly see in Public Health England is that real grass roots initiatives – those that are by communities for communities – often have the biggest impact in really tackling health challenges and making a difference.”
The excellence in public health and wellbeing award is now in its third year and are made following nominations from MPs, Directors of Public Health and others from across public health, local authorities, the NHS and the voluntary sector.
The Paperweight Armband – which is now copyrighted to Salford but free for people to use in Salford – has information on the outside, including a Quick Response codes (or QR code – a type of barcode that can be read using smartphones and tablets) which can be scanned to direct people to a website for more details.
In 2014, the Malnutrition Task Force identified some specific areas across England to target populations that had a problem with malnutrition.
Salford was chosen as one of the Prevention Programme pilot sites because it has one of the highest rates of admission to hospital because of malnutrition.
Following the success of that work, when the pilot scheme came to an end, Salford’s Integrated Care Programme agreed to continue to support it, whilst Age UK Salford have also agreed to continue their support as both recognise the tools developed and their potential.