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Nutrition and dietetics

Our service

Our dietitians work in many of the specialist areas across the hospitals as part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is to ensure the care that you receive is focused on your individual needs.

We have very experienced staff and offer a wide range of specialised dietetic input in the following areas:

  • Critical Care
  • Elderly care
  • Orthopaedics
  • Stroke
  • Gastroenterology
  • Nutrition support
  • Oncology
  • General surgery
  • Spinal injuries


If your doctor or nurse thinks you would benefit from seeing a dietitian, they will refer you directly to the service. The service is available between 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Inpatient referrals are acted on within 48 working hours of receipt or sooner.

The hospital uses the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) to identify those who are malnourished or at risk of malnourishment and put a treatment plan in place to improve this. This can trigger a referral to a dietitian but you may be referred for a variety of reasons.

Patients seen on the wards are both acutely and chronically ill, with various types of nutritional problems/requirements, e.g. critically ill patients who require alternative feeding, such as enteral and parenteral nutrition, or patients with long-term chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, COPD and cardiovascular disease.

We use a range of assessment techniques such as weight history, anthropometrical measurements, food diaries and biochemistry to devise and evaluate nutritional plans for patients.

The aims of treatment are to maintain or improve nutritional status, aid recovery. Our assessment methods and treatment plans are tailored to your needs and we work alongside other members of the multidisciplinary team to ensure the care you receive is safe and as effective as possible.

Discharge. We aim to continue providing support to patients where necessary on discharge, by planning a programme which provides a seamless transition between hospital and the community services. You may be followed up via telephone or referred to the community team.

If you are not from the Southport area, we will liaise with the dietetic team near you. We will often write to your GP and/or Consultant with our action plan and any actions they need to take

About nutrition and dietetics

Nutrition is the study of nutrients in food, how nutrients are used by the body, and the relationship between diet, health and disease. Dietetics is the interpretation and communication of the science of nutrition to enable people to make informed and practical choices about food and lifestyle, in both health and disease.

Registered Dietitians (RDs) translate scientific information about 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.

The title dietitian is protected by law and anyone working as a dietitian must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. Registration with the HCPC requires the dietitian to have a recognised degree in nutrition and dietetics.

The Nutrition and Dietetic Service is provided by a team of HCPC registered dietitians who work within the hospitals. All dietitians within the department are members of the British Dietetic Association, a professional union that provides guidelines, standards of care and legal advice amongst other things.

The department is also accredited as a teaching hospital site for student dietitians, and has a strong academic link with The University of Chester.

For information on healthy eating and evidence based information for a range of conditions, please go to the British Dietetic Association (BDA) website and check out the Food Facts section.

Please note that any medical condition should be diagnosed by a doctor and if further advice is required please request a referral to a dietitian by your general practitioner or consultant.

Spelling. In the UK, the professional title is spelt dietitian, but in American English it is spelt dietician.


We can only accept referrals for inpatients. Referrals are made by doctors or nurses by contacting the ward dietitian or calling through on 01704 704199.

Useful websites

Service Leads

Elizabeth Gemmell Service Lead


01704 704199