Leslie, FC and Thomas, S (2009) Competent to care. Are all doctors competent in nutrition? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 68 (3). 296 - 299. ISSN 1475-2719

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Optimising nutrition is known to improve outcome in a variety of specialities from elderly care to orthopaedics. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines of 2006 have provided standards to positively influence the profile of nutrition within the National Health Service. However, what role do doctors have in this process? Clearly, not all doctors are competent in nutrition. In a recent US survey only 14% of resident physicians reported feeling adequately trained to provide nutrition counselling. A lack of knowledge has also been demonstrated by general practitioners (GP). The Intercollegiate Group on Nutrition is working to improve nutritional knowledge in British medical graduates. In addition, nutritional care is now a core competency assessed in the UK Foundation Programme curriculum, which can only be a positive step. The assessment process may even influence some of the supervising consultants. What about those doctors currently practising in the UK? Recently, a questionnaire study was undertaken to look at healthcare professionals' knowledge of the benefits and risks of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding. Important gaps in knowledge were found that were positively correlated with whether respondents had received relevant education. Referral for a PEG was considered to be appropriate for patients with advanced dementia by 31% of the GP compared with 10% of the consultants. Only 4% of these GP had received any training in this ethically-sensitive area at a time when they may be asked to countersign consent forms for patients who lack competence. So, what is the way forward? Positive steps are being taken in the undergraduate curriculum and Foundation Programme. Perhaps it is the responsibility of those doctors with the skills and opportunities to promote good nutritional knowledge in those doctors already practising in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nutrition, Knowledge, Training, Curricula
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC521 Dementia
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2014 09:31
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2019 11:44
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/119

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