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Nutrition and Dietetics

The nutrition and dietetic department provides advice about nutrition and diet in relation to health and illness.

The department consists of a team of eight full-time dietitians, eight part-time dietitians and three dietetic assistants, and is supported by four part-time secretaries. The team is led by Gill Shinkwin, nutrition and dietetic service manager.

All dietitians employed by the Trust have completed an approved qualification (at degree level) and are registered to practice with the Health Professions Council. Registrations can be checked at www.hpcuk.com. The team works closely with relevant medical, nursing and catering staff.

The nutrition and dietetic team work within the hospital and across the community in various settings such as GP clinics, care homes and schools and offer a wide range of specialised dietetic services including:

  • Nutritional support and tube feeding;
  • Diabetes;
  • Paediatrics;
  • Obesity;
  • Cancer;
  • Gastroenterology;
  • Intensive care;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /ME.

Lifestyle Hub

The Lifestyle Hub is a programme designed to help you choose from six referral programmes that are most likely to work for you. This is important as it means you are more likely to succeed and it will help keep you fitter. For further information please visit the Lifestyle Hub page.

In the Community

The five community dietitians see patients in clinics in Sandy, Biggleswade, Shefford, Flitwick, Ampthill and Kempston. They also see patients in nursing and residential care homes and provide advice to care staff, caterers and the residents themselves on eating for health.

North Bedfordshire Food First Team

Malnutrition affects more than 2 million adults in the UK, costing £13 billion annually (BAPEN 2008). It can be caused by illness and/or physiological and social co-factors (Cochrane, 2007). Malnutrition affects every system of the body (Stratton et al, 2003).

The North Bedfordshire Food First Team is working to promote the detection of malnutrition risk using the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST) and managing those at risk using everyday foods (choosing those which are high in energy and nutrition, taking food and fluids little and often and fortifying with foods such as milk powder, cream, spread and oils).

Care homes for the elderly are offered training and those achieving a high standard are awarded a Food First Certificate (valid for one year). The manual “Guide to Detecting, Preventing and Managing Malnutrition for Care Homes for the elderly in North Bedfordshire” supports this training and can be downloaded via the below link.

Download the Guide to Detecting, Preventing and Managing Malnutrition for Care Homes for the elderly in North Bedfordshire here

Information on MUST is available via the following link:http://www.bapen.org.uk/screening-for-malnutrition/must/must-toolkit/the-must-itself

The North Bedfordshire Food First Team are also offering a nutrition review to everyone who is being prescribed nutritional supplements but is not under a dietitian. If you are concerned about a unwanted weight loss or being underweight there are advice sheets available on this website under patient information library.


The diabetes dietitians are based in the diabetes unit and work closely with the doctors and nurses in this unit. They are involved in providing education programmes for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They also provide specialist dietary and lifestyle advice on an individual basis, helping people to manage their blood sugar levels more effectively. For more information please visit the Diabetes and Endocrinology pages.


The paediatric dietitians treat patients on the ward, in the neonatal unit, in ambulatory care, outpatient clinics, the child development centre and occasionally in their own homes.

Hospital Based

The hospital-based dietitians see patients on the wards and in outpatient clinics. Good nutrition improves recovery from illness, reduces the likelihood of infections and pressure sores. This team works closely with the catering department planning menus for staff and patients and supporting those who require special diets.


The specialist dietitian for cancer treats patients in the Primrose Unit and helps patients cope with weight loss and symptoms affecting their appetite. She works closely with health care professionals in other cancer centres and in the community. For more information about our oncology services please visit the Primrose Unit pages.

The team also has a dietitian who specialises in
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and works closely with the gynaecologists and endocrinologists.

Accessing a Dietitian

Patients can be referred to the dietitian by their GP or consultant. Patients are then sent a letter asking them to book an appointment on the designated appointments line.

For general enquiries, please ring

01234 792171