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22 May 2018

King's dietitian is the first ever appointed a NICE Scholar

Will Richard, Communications & Engagement Officer

Dr Nicola Guess is the first dietitian ever to be appointed a NICE Scholar.

Dr Nicola Guess
Dr Nicola Guess

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) appoints scholars to support doctors and allied health professionals in solving a specific, identified problem in clinical care. Dr Guess, whose speciality is diet and diabetes, is investigating the provision of food for inpatients with the condition.

Every year the NHS conducts the National Diabetes Inpatient Audit to monitor quality of care across the UK. Participants are asked a range of questions including about the food provided. The responses have been negative with patients highlighting that their meals are nutritionally inappropriate to help them manage their condition and are served at the wrong times.

This is a serious problem. There is, for example, no low carbohydrate diet available for inpatients with type 2 diabetes. This means that although people may manage their condition well at home, their blood sugar level can become dangerously high once in hospital where they have no control of what they eat.

Between May 2018 and May 2019, Dr Guess will be working across King’s Health Partners to provide the answers. She will be talking to inpatients’ families and carers, conducting a full survey of what people eat during their time in hospital and speaking directly to patients to discover what they feel is currently lacking. Dr Guess will then develop a series of evidence-based recommendations which can be implemented as best clinical practice.

Speaking of her work over the coming year, Dr Guess said:

I will be investigating meal provision for inpatients with type 1 and 2 diabetes. We know that patients with diabetes feel that the food they are provided with in hospital is not appropriate for them, but the audit does not tell us why this is. My project aims to understand what changes can be made to ensure patients with diabetes receive nutritionally appropriate and enjoyable meals.

Dr Nicola Guess

Professor Kevin Whelan, Head of Department, Nutritional Sciences, said of Nicola’s appointment:

Nicola’s appointment as the first-ever dietitian as a NICE scholar is a credit to the practice and research she has undertaken in diet, nutrition and diabetes. She is based in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and collaborates widely throughout the School and university as well as nationally and internationally. Her project will have a great impact on how people with diabetes are fed when in hospital.

Professor Kevin Whelan