Survey on Malnutrition and Prescribing of Oral Nutritional Supplements

Closed 22 Jan 2018

Opened 18 Dec 2017


Malnutrition is a major public health issue, most prevalent in the community setting and affecting 29% of patients admitted to hospitals throughout Northern Ireland.  The cost of managing malnutrition is double that of health care spend when compared with managing overweight patients and obesity.

Nutrition spend between June 2016 - May 2017 equated to £21.8 million, cost/patient in Northern Ireland is double spend compared with England, Scotland and Wales.  With regard to Oral Nutritional Supplements over the last financial year Northern Ireland has spent almost £9 million.

In order to support safe, appropriate and cost-effective prescribing of Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) a new team of prescribing support dietitians are now in post working directly with GP Practices, Care and Nursing Homes throughout Northern Ireland.  Patients will be selected for dietetic review currently prescribed Oral Nutritional Supplements not already under the care of a dietitian.

Previous work undertaken through medicines management dietetic assessment has shown positive patient outcomes, 94% of patients maintaining or increasing BMI at 8 weeks whilst Oral Nutritional Supplements have been discontinued or changed to a more cost effective preparation, where appropriate with significant cost savings of £1.6 million between 2013 and 2015.









Why We Are Consulting

The prescribing support dietetic team aims to create an increased awareness and knowledge in the cost effective managment of malnutrition throughout Northern Ireland.  The team want to capture the views and establish what influences a GP or other prescriber's decisions about whether to prescribe Oral Nutritional Supplements for a patient.  This research is an integral part of the team's future development working with colleagues in primary care whilst also achieving positive clinical outcomes for patients.

Your participation is voluntary and responses completely anonymous and cannot be traced back to you or your practice.

The survey will take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete.


  • Health professionals


  • Health