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What is a Dietitian?

Dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level.

Dietitians specialise in translating scientific information about nutrition and food into practical dietary advice. They also advise about dietary related problems and treat disease and ill health.

They work with healthy and people who are unwell in a variety of settings. Many dietitians work in the NHS but they can also work in the food industry, workplace, catering, education, sport and the media.

Dietitians are members of multi-disciplinary teams who treat complex clinical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, food allergy and intolerance, heart disease, malnutrition, kidney failure and bowel disorders.

Dietitians are statutorily regulated, with a protected title and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Therefore, the title dietitian can only be used by those appropriately trained professionals who are registered with the Health Care Professions Council.

For more information, visit the British Dietetic Association website.

What do we do at UH Bristol and Weston?

Our acute team mainly works with inpatients staying in our hospitals; providing nutritional advice tailored specifically to individuals and their clinical conditions. Malnutrition is common in hospital patients and it is important that it's identified and treated early to improve recovery time and reduce complications. Malnutrition occurs when you are unable to nourish yourself with the nutrients your body needs.

We help people meet their nutritional needs while they are unwell, recovering from a period of illness or following surgery. This may involve giving advice about nourishing foods and drinks, oral nutritional supplements and in some cases; this may involve feeding via a tube into your gut or feeding directly into your veins (intravenous nutrition).

We also provide a range of outpatient services to support patients in the community. Our clinics include support with nutrition in cancer, coeliac disease, gastroenterology, upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery.

Some of our clinics are run alongside other clinicians such as consultants and/or specialist nurses, these include liver disease, gestational diabetes, and lipid clinics.  

Alongside supporting patients, we also provide training and education to other staff within the trust on many different nutritional topics. We also work alongside our hospitals catering teams to ensure we can provide a range of foods and meals to meet the nutritional needs of all inpatients. This includes reviewing our hospital menus and auditing standards on nutritional care to provide assurance on quality.

Our service is for adults, if you require information on paediatric dietetic services take a look at our colleagues from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children Nutrition and Dietetics Department.