11 May 2021

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) is the Department of Health and Social Care committee which determines whether a nutritional product should be available to prescribe at NHS expense. The committee has recently launched a consultation on the use of Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS), and all dietitians are being urged to take part.

Following a long history of being led by doctors, the ACBS committee has now been chaired by a dietitian for two and a half years, and dietitians also now form two thirds of the committee, ensuring a wealth of practical and varied dietetic experience and knowledge is applied to all decision making.

ACBS Chair, Alison Smith RD, said  “The committee is currently working hard to update and standardise everything to do with the ACBS process, both in terms of how indications have been determined historically, the application process and which products are absolutely required by patients and so need to be available to prescribe at NHS expense. Reviewing the existing system in this much detail has never been done before, and this is the first stakeholder consultation in the process. It’s an amazing opportunity for dietitians to provide their feedback and we’re asking for all responses, particularly from NHS dietitians, whether in favour of the proposed changes or not.”

The BDA is working on a response to the consultation drawing on the expertise of our specialist groups from across the profession. This will be published on our consultation pages once it is submitted. We would encourage all our members to consider providing their own response as well, either individually or on behalf of their service, to ensure that it reflects the full breadth of dietetic expertise.

You can respond to the consultation online before the closing date on Sunday 27th June 2021.