Appropriate prescribing of oral nutritional supplements

The issue

Given the financial and operational pressures that primary care services are facing, GPs across the country are looking at ways to save money. In some cases, this has included changing the way that oral nutritional supplements (ONS) are prescribed (as well as Infant formulae and Gluten Free foods). We support efforts to reduce wastage of ONS and believe it is important that dietitians are closely involved with the process of ONS provision to ensure they are prescribed appropriately. 

However, some GPs are choosing to reduce ONS provision without sufficient involvement from dietitians and the consideration of wider health impacts. The impacts of malnutrition are well known, and while the BDA supports a range of options for tackling it, including the "food first" approach, ONS should remain readily accessible as an important part of the dietitian's toolkit. 

What we need members to do help

If there are plans to change the way ONS are prescribed in your local area, please tell us about it so that we can get a better picture of changes across the country and support your response. If you are already involved, it is still helpful for us to hear about it - we are keen to promote best practice whenever possible.

If there are concerns over proposals, we need you to take a lead in making the case for dietetic involvement to ensure that ONS continues to be used and prescribed appropriately. 

What the BDA will do to support you

The BDA will work to support dietitians in any local area where there are proposals to change the way ONS are prescribed, to ensure that dietitians are involved in the redesign. We can help you to respond to consultations where that's possible and write directly to make the case for dietetic involvement. 

We can also call on the support of partner organisations, such as BAPEN, who can support your case.  

Tools and further information