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Pictured: Dr Ruth McKee receiving the JLJ medal from Dr Barry Jones Chair of BAPEN

Pictured: Dr Ruth McKee receiving the JLJ medal from Dr Barry Jones Chair of BAPEN

Congratulations to Dr Ruth McKee who was awarded the prestigious John Lennard-Jones Medal for her significant and consistent contribution to the British Association of Parental and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN).

Ruth is a colorectal surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) who has always had a passion for nutrition and found time throughout her career to contribute to the development and delivery of excellent clinical nutritional care at both a local and national level. Patient care and improving the quality of their lives has always been at the heart of Ruth’s desire to provide excellent nutritional care however from her early days as a junior doctor Ruth identified that in order for delivery of good care to be sustainable and effective there had to be buy in from the multidisciplinary team along with the patient themselves. As this is the foundation of BAPENs believes Ruth was an active member of the organisation from its inception 25 years ago.

She chairs the Nutrition Support Team at the GRI providing an inpatient service to those with complex nutrition needs and an outreach service to 60 patients on Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN). From 2002-2007 she was the lead clinician of the national HPN Managed Clinical Network in Scotland. During this time she was instrumental in working with colleagues from several disciplines to run annual regional meetings which were given BAPEN recognition. When the HPN network funding came to an end Ruth was involved in a group who established BAPEN Scotland as a recognised regional group of BAPEN to ensure the education and training support network continued. She was always active in medical education to ensure that nutrition is part of all surgical syllabuses.

Ruth is also Chair of the NHSGGC Clinical Nutrition Group which steers practice in clinical nutrition in the largest health board in Scotland. In this role she was invited to be part of a group of dedicated individuals who in 2015 developed the Health Improvement Scotland Food Fluid and Nutritional care complex nutritional care standards which translated many of BAPEN's messages on safe and effective delivery of enteral and parenteral nutrition and ethical care of patients into auditable and measurable standards.

She was nominated by Colleagues she has worked with locally and nationally who were delighted when she was presented with the award in November 2017 at the annual BAPEN conference.

BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme has reported that medical students currently learn very little on nutrition and the way that diet and lifestyle affect health, and that what students do learn is not practical or relevant.

The programme, which was broadcast on Sunday 25th March, and subsequent report on BBC News Online reported that non-communicable diseases are placing significant financial strain on the NHS, with diabetes alone costing the NHS £11bn this year, and that  better medical education on nutrition and diet could cut costs to the NHS.

Commenting on the article, Dr Simon Gabe, BAPEN President, stated:

“It is worrying that we are not equipping the doctors of tomorrow with the knowledge of nutrition that gives them the skills and confidence to provide practical advice to patients. Good nutrition is central to health and well-being, and education about nutrition is therefore vital from a public health perspective. In addition to this, good nutritional care is also important in aiding recovery and sustaining the health of individuals with health problems. It is especially important for patients that are recovering from surgery or who are living with long-term or progressive conditions.

Over 3 million people in the UK are at risk of or suffering from malnutrition and the recent All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger’s ‘Hidden hunger and malnutrition in the elderly’ report highlighted that malnutrition is a growing problem in England as our population ages, and vulnerable people are increasingly at risk of malnutrition as a result of social or environmental factors such as loneliness as well as being at risk of disease related malnutrition.

We believe that the medical curricula should be re-designed to incorporate appropriate study of nutrition and malnutrition so that nutrition is better recognised and integrated into general practice. We warmly welcome the General Medical Council’s review and call on the GMC to place greater emphasis on nutrition and malnutrition in their standards. We look forward to its revised outcomes in the summer.”


BAPEN has a number education and guidance resources, as well as e-learning modules, including for the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (‘MUST’) that are available on its website.

The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) welcomes the publication of the updated Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community guide.  The update provides a practical guide and pathway to assist community healthcare professionals in identifying and managing the three million people in the UK at risk of disease related malnutrition.

The guide includes information on identification and management of malnutrition according to risk category using the BAPEN ‘MUST’ tool, guidance on optimising nutritional intake and a practical pathway on the appropriate use of oral nutritional supplements in managing malnutrition.

The guide, which is based on clinical experience and evidence, with best practice, has been developed by a multi-professional team of expert practitioners and is endorsed by key organisations including BAPEN, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the British Dietetic Association (BDA).

The update also includes information for healthcare professionals on Managing Malnutrition with Oral Nutritional Supplements, as well as a number of resources for patients and carers. These resources include:

Commenting on the update, Dr Simon Gabe, BAPEN President said:

BAPEN welcomes the publication of the updated guide for community healthcare professionals and the resources for patients and carers, which will play a crucial role in continuing to improve the earlier recognition and management of malnutrition.

As highlighted by the recent All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger’s ‘Hidden hunger and malnutrition in the elderly’ report, effective identification and appropriate management of people at risk of malnutrition in community settings will reduce hospital admissions of those individuals who are malnourished. This will help to reduce the overall cost burden of malnutrition, while improving health outcomes for patients.”


Category for BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool

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