A Bradford project which has improved the recognition and management of malnutrition in the community has scooped two national awards.

The joint initiative, between the medicines optimisation team NHS Bradford City and Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the nutrition and dietetics service at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT) was given a SystmOne Innovation Award at the SystmOne National User Group annual conference held in early October. The project also won the ‘utilising technology’ category in the PrescQIPP Annual Event and Innovation Awards held Wednesday 17 October.

The two year project was recognised for its innovative use of SystmOne – a clinical IT system used in primary care across Bradford – to improve the identification and treatment of malnutrition for adults.

The tool – a specially created template within SystmOne – was developed by dietitians and the data quality team at eMBED Health Consortium. Since the template has been introduced an audit within a GP practice found the number of people screened for malnutrition had doubled. Cost savings have been made across both CCGs by reducing the inappropriate prescribing of oral nutritional supplements. The project has also enabled clinicians, with the lead and support of expert dietitians, to provide information and resources to support people to self-manage malnutrition where possible.

Susan Sheridan, project lead dietitian, BTHFT, working with the medicines optimisation team at Bradford CCGs said: “Malnutrition is a serious ongoing problem and it can easily go unidentified. Therefore, we wanted to use our specialist knowledge to develop a tool to support GPs and other health care professionals in a straightforward and easy to understand way.”

“Using the template, clinical teams across Bradford can now identify the signs of malnutrition early and make sure people get the right nutritional care and treatment they need more quickly. It’s a really crucial project that will no doubt improve care, especially for our older population.”

Sara Hopkinson, principal dietitian, BTHFT said: “Early identification of patients with malnutrition has been shown to reduce hospital stays, reduce GP visits and improve the quality of life for patients. The risks associated with malnutrition only increase if the problem is not tackled.”

“This template has been developed with GPs and healthcare professionals, who really welcomed the direct support from dietitians. As a result, people are receiving the right advice and support in a timely manner.

The project team plan to continue to build on the success of the work, including delivering further training to GPs and health care professionals and implementing user feedback.

To find out more about malnutrition visit the Malnutrition Task Force website http://www.malnutritiontaskforce.org.uk/ or the British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) website http://www.bapen.org.uk/malnutrition-undernutrition/introduction-to-malnutrition