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1.       I would like to be a dietitian; can I come and volunteer with you to find out what's involved? 
a.       Yes we welcome people who are applying to become a dietitian to come and spend a day with us, although as Community Dietetics is quite different to the acute environment we suggest that you also spend some time at your local hospital. Please email all correspondence directly to: stating where you are applying to and when you would like to come.

2.       Where can I get information about dietetic degrees?    
 a.       The BDA website gives information on undergraduate training. Locally, Coventry University provides the 4 year course, other courses in England run at Nottingham, Leeds, Chester, Kings College London, London Metropolitan University, University of Surrey, Plymouth University and University of Hertfordshire. However, they all have different admission criteria.

3.       Where can I find advice on healthy eating in pregnancy?    
a.       You can ask your midwife, or alternatively look in ‘The Pregnancy Book’ which is available from your midwife or your maternity unit. Another good source of information is the pregnancy section on the Eatwell website. Click on this link to find

4.       How do I book to see a dietitian?

a.       There are two ways to do this. As long as you meet our referral criteria, you could ask your healthcare professional to refer you (this will usually be your nurse or doctor) or refer yourself using our self-referral form. Either way, we will then contact you about arranging your appointment.

5.       How do I become a dietitian?

a.       There are two ways to qualify as a Registered dietitian either completion of a relevant Degree or completion of a Post-Graduate Qualification. All courses include periods of practical training in hospital and community settings, approved by the Health Professions Council. If you require further information please go to the BDA website:

6.       Can I self refer to your service?

a.       Yes. Please see ‘how do I book to see a dietitian?’

7.       How do you refer to level 4 Obesity/gastric band surgery?

a.      Gastric banding is a type of surgery that can support patients in losing a significant amount of weight. If this is something that you are interested in then you need to speak to your GP or practice nurse. They will then be able to refer you on if appropriate to the specialist weight management service that is held in a variety of health centres across Birmingham. This will involve being seen by a specialist team including a doctor (depending on clinic), dietitian and counsellor if needed. If you meet the criteria for surgery and work with the team by demonstrating weight loss and control over your eating they could consider referring you to the hospital team who will then assess you and make a decision.

If you do not meet the criteria for surgery than the specialist weight management service can still help you. You will be offered 12 months of input form the team to help you manage your weight and support you in changing your eating behaviour.

If you would like further information please speak to your GP or nurse who can discuss the various weight management options that are available to you.

8. How do I find out more about Home Enteral Feeding?

a. Home Enteral Feeding refers to the delivery of a nutritionally complete feed directly into the gut via a feeding tube. Enteral tube feeding is used to feed patients who are unable to attain an adequate oral intake from food and/or nutritional supplements, or who are unable to eat and drink safely. In order to administer enteral feeds the gastrointestinal tract must be accessible and functioning in order to absorb the feed. Enteral Feeding is not exclusive and can be used in combination with oral/parenteral nutrition.

All patients who are discharged on Home Enteral Feeding will be allocated a dietitian in the community; however some patients who are still receiving active treatment will remain under the care of the hospital dietitians. If your enquiry is patient specific please contact the Community Dietitians (Nutrition Support Team) on 0121 683 2300 or the Nutrition and Dietetic Department of the discharging hospitals as appropriate.

The Birmingham Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service run training modules called Nutrition Essentials. In March 2011 a new module titled ‘Enteral Nutrition’ will be launched. To attend this module you need to have completed the core module first. For further information please contact 0121 465 2785.

Other sources of information about Home Enteral Feeding can be found from:

1. NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) in their guideline NICE 32 2006 ‘Nutrition Support in Adults’

2. BAPEN (British Artificial Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) website

3. Birmingham Community Home Enteral Feeding Guidelines – these are in the process of being updated and will be available soon.

For further information contact us on 0121 683 2300