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Nutrition and Dietetics

What is dietetics?

Dietitians assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems using evidence-based, scientific research on food, health and disease. This is translated into practical advice to enable individuals and their family or carers to make appropriate food and lifestyle choices. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, Dietitians support adults and children whose diet is a major factor affecting their quality of life.

Our Nutrition and Dietetics service

Our team is made up of HCPC registered Dietitians, Dietetic Assistants and Dietetic Support staff.

We provide a service to inpatients and outpatients at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and an outreach service to people in the community (to support enteral tube feeding in their own homes or nursing homes). We also provide regular dietetic clinics in most West Norfolk GP surgeries. Being an acute -based service with clinical outreach to the community we have the advantage of a seamless service across both primary and secondary care with a single point of contact for both.

Below are examples of the diseases or conditions where our Dietitians may offer support and advice: This support and advice may be ongoing or achieved through a single dietetic clinic appointment:

  • Following surgery or trauma
  • Intensive care
  • During treatment resulting in side effects that reduce appetite or make the process of eating difficult
  • To meet the needs of a preterm infant
  • Diabetes - Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Coeliac disease
  • Food allergy
  • Inflamation Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome or food intolerance
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease (and cardiac rehab)
  • Neurological conditions
  • Malnutrition
  • Faltering growth
  • Management of pressure sores

This department does not offer a specialist service for eating disorders.

Our department works very closely with the Catering Department in Queen Elizabeth Hospital to ensure the nutritional adequacy of our inpatient meals and flexibility to meet individuals therapeutic needs and preferences. This, and close working with ward staff, enables us to demonstrate that we meet the requirements of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

What to expect if you are coming to see a Dietitian for a clinic appointment

You should have received an appointment letter and this will state the date and time of your appointment and where the appointment is. It may be in your local GP Surgery, a community venue, North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech or in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital premises.

Most appointment letters will have a food diary enclosed with them, especially if it is an initial appointment. It is very useful for the appointment if you can use this diary to write down what you have been eating and drinking for three days prior to coming to the appointment. Try to include as much detail as possible - for example, we want to know whether you have skimmed milk or semi-skimmed and whether you have one Weetabix or two. Do you have sugar in your cup of tea? If it is difficult to describe the food or drink then bring the packet or food label with you. Please remember to bring your food diary with you when you visit us.

Please aim to arrive on time, if you are running late then please telephone to let us know (01553 613507), it may be the Dietitian can wait for you, or it may be that the appointment has to be re-booked for an alternative date.

It is fine to bring someone with you if you would like. Sometimes it is useful to have a second pair of ears to help remember the information you are provided with. We can arrange an interpreting service if another language is required, please let us know if you need this service.

It is possible you will have your height and weight measured and so you may be asked to remove your coat and shoes to enable this. If you would prefer not to be measured then please inform the Dietitian of this. You will not be forced to be measured, though it may be useful for the Dietitian when making any clinical decisions.

The Dietitian may ask you questions about yourself. This will be to gain a full account of your medical history and personal circumstances to help with making any clinical decisions and to devise a nutritional plan that is tailored to your individual needs. During your appointment you should expect to be listened to. It is ok to voice any concerns that you may have.

The Dietitian will devise a nutritional plan with your agreement. You may then be offered a follow up appointment if this is needed. Your referrer will be informed of the agreed nutritional plan.

Making a referral or an appointment

Written or electronic referrals should be made to the department via the GP, Health Professionals or a Consultant.

Inpatients will be seen on the wards at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. For Outpatients and Community patients the appointment letter will specify where the appointment will be held. Patients may be seen in their own homes though only in exceptional circumstances. For certain conditions a group education session may be offered. Appointments for children are mainly at the Roxburgh Children's Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We provide a dietetic service to care/residential homes.

Useful links

Contact details

Our Nutrition and Dietetics Department can be contacted by telephone on (01553) 613507.

Typically the phone is manned Monday to Friday 8am - 4pm. There is an answerphone in operation and this is checked and responded to regularly during week days.

If leaving us a message, please remember to include your name, date of birth or hospital number, and your telephone number so that we can return your call.

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