Labour has called for urgent action following a report about an increase in deaths from dehydration in Scottish hospitals.

Health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie cited a report in The Sunday Post newspaper which stated that analysis of data showed inadequate fluid intake had led to the deaths of 550 patients last year.

The report also said NHS statistics division ISD Scotland said in 2010 more than 10 patents a week were discharged with a diagnosis of “volume depletion”.

Ms Baillie said: “We need to ensure that a proper nutrition and hydration plan is in place for all vulnerable patients as it is a disgrace that any patient should suffer in this way and not receive proper care.

“There is something seriously wrong and nurses themselves have warned older patients are not screened enough for signs of malnutrition and dehydration because of pressures at work.

“Labour has warned the Scottish government time and again that nurses are bearing the brunt of the SNP cuts to the NHS and this results in overwork, staff shortages and impacts on care.

“Under Nicola Sturgeon’s watch over the last four years we have seen 1,500 nurses’ jobs axed and there are likely to be more job losses to come judging from the information emerging from the workforce plans for this year. This puts even more pressure on the staff that are left behind.

“The health secretary must ensure proper resources are going to the front line to support NHS staff to ensure no patient is vulnerable to dehydration.”