Tameside Hospital is to become the first in the country to set up a permanent foodbank on-site after medical staff reported an increase in the number of malnourished patients turning up for treatment.
A permanent foodbank will open at the hospital next month, with a central collection point and several secure bins across the site for staff and visitors to leave donations for at-risk patients.
The operation will be supported by the Trussell Trust, Greater Manchester’s largest foodbank operator, which helps thousands of hard-up families across the region.
The hospital’s medical director Brendan Ryan said young and elderly patients being malnourished when they leave hospital can affect their recovery.
He added: “These patients have a higher incidence of post-operative complications and mortality. Malnourished surgical patients have complication and mortality rates three to four times higher than normally nourished patients, with longer hospital admissions.
“And similar findings have been described in medical patients, particularly the elderly.”
“Many of them are or will become our patients, and we have a duty of care to ensure we help them however we can.”
Trussel Trust figures showed more than 100 people a day were using food banks in Greater Manchester.
But the true number receiving emergency food parcels is likely to be much higher, with the trust only one of many operators across the region.
Local MP for Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner said: “It’s a shocking sign of the times. But full marks to the hospital for recognising that a good, balanced diet and decent food is a vital part of everyone’s health and well-being. They should be congratulated for being so proactive, But the fact that the hospital is having to do this shows the real poverty and despera