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Clinical Services

Nutrition & Dietetics

Nutrition & Dietetics: About the Service

The three hospital sites, Hemel Hempstead, Watford General, and St Albans City Hospital, within West Hertfordshire NHS trust are served by 15 dietitians who in turn are well supported by secretarial and administrative staff. The three sites are united and managed as one with the underlying aim of providing appropriate nutritional advice to everyone in their care.

What is a Dietitian?

Registered Dietitians (RDs) are uniquely qualified to translate scientific information about nutrition and food into practical dietary advice. As well as providing impartial advice about nutrition and health, dietitians also advise about food related problems and treat disease and ill health. Many dietitians work in the National Health Service (NHS) and may work in one or more specialist areas e.g. diabetes, children's health, cancer, renal, public health. Others work with people in the community, sometimes visiting them in their own homes.

They are a key part of the healthcare team and also have an important training and advisory role.

Each of the dietitians employed by the Trust will have completed an approved recognised qualification in nutrition and dietetics and they are registered to practice with Health Professions Council. Registrations can be checked on www.hpcuk.com

At West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, dieticians provide expertise in a range of specialities (see below) and see both inpatients and outpatients on all sites following referrals from consultants and GPs.

  • Cardiology
  • Critical care
  • Diabetes
  • Elderly
  • Gastroenterology
  • HIV
  • Nutritional support
  • Obesity
  • Oncology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Paediatrics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Women's health
  • Where we work

The bulk of dietetic work is to provide nutritional support to inpatients; in addition there are a number of outpatient clinics to serve the needs of the Hospital Consultants and GPs in the surrounding area. A typical week in hospital life will see the department offering about 13 outpatient clinics, which are distributed according to local need.

Hemel Hempstead 4 per week (including paediatrics)
Watford General Hospital 5 per week (including paediatrics)
St Albans city Hospital 4 per week (including paediatrics)


Patients that can benefit from dietary advice:

Coeliac Disease:

  • All newly diagnosed patients

Diabetes:

  • Newly diagnosed patients
  • Patients with poorly controlled diabetes
  • Patients with additional medical conditions requiring dietary treatment e.g. Coeliac disease, raised lipids, obesity
  • Patients with impaired glucose tolerance
  • Patients with metabolic syndrome

Eating Disorders:

  • These patients will be offered basic healthy eating advice

Lipid Lowering:

  • Patients with raised blood lipids not responding to primary care advice
  • Patients with additional medical conditions requiring dietary treatment e.g. diabetes

Nutritional Support:

  • Patients with conditions where there is associated weight loss, feeding or swallowing difficulties e.g. MS, MND
  • Patients with progressive neurological disorders e.g. MS, MND
  • Post surgery - e.g. gastrectomy, bowel resection
  • Cancer cachexia
  • COPD

Paediatrics:

  • Faltering Growth, feeding difficulties
  • Children who need to lose weight
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Constipation
  • Food intolerances and food allergies
  • Dietary assessments
  • Autism
  • Eating disorders, these children will be assessed and offered basic healthy eating advice

Weight Reduction:

  • Overweight/obese patients

Others:

  • Digestive disorders e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, hiatus hernia, diverticulitis
  • Dietary assessment in adults e.g. calcium status in patients with osteoporosis
  • Food allergy/intolerance in adults e.g. milk free diet used to treat milk intolerance
  • Pre-conceptual/ pregnancy nutrition advice

This list is only a guide, we are willing to take referrals whenever the health professional feels the patient would benefit from dietary advice.

Referrals

Referrals should be made in writing to the Dietetic Department and sent to the Dietetic Departments at:

Watford General Hospital
St Albans City Hospital

Making an appointment

Once a referral letter has been received for a patient they will be written to an invited to contact the department buy telephone to arrange a convenient appointment time. Should they fail to respond to this initial request they will be contacted a second time and failure to respond to this will mean the patient is discharged form the service.

Should you wish to discuss a referral with a dietitian then please contact us on:

Watford: 01923 436 236 or 01923 217 046
St Albans: 01727 732 011

Resources

The West Hertfordshire Nutrition and Dietetic services produce a range of information leaflets and fact sheets for health professionals and for the public, giving evidence based and up to date nutrition information. These resources can be accessed on www.hpherts.nhs.uk Choose nutrition, then primary care nutrition information leaflets.

Contacting the Trust

Please contact the relevant Trust switchboard if you require further information or assistance:

  • Watford General Hospital switchboard: 01923 244366
  • Hemel Hempstead Hospital switchboard: 01442 213141
  • St Albans City Hospital switchboard: 01727 866122
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