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Hospitals provide nutritional advice to patients

07-15-2010 14:26 BJT

BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Beijing's top hospitals are setting up departments that specialize in nutrition, according to an official from the health authority.

All 50 "class A" hospitals in the city are involved in the scheme, which is currently evaluating the level of resources each institution has.

Beijing Municipal Health Bureau will require hospitals allocate at least one nutritionist for every 150 beds, but at present, the city is in dire shortage of qualified personnel, said Deng Xiaohong, deputy director of the bureau.

Many hospitals closed their clinical nutrition departments in the last round of a healthcare reform in 2006. Rather than getting fired, many nutritionists were moved into hospital kitchens and canteens to cook and sell food, qianlong.com reported.

"Nutrition plays a vital role when it comes to a patient's recovery," Deng said, adding that nutritionists should accompany doctors on wards as well as formulate menus in line with patient needs.

Zhao Xia, director of the clinical nutrition department at Jishuitan hospital, said her hospital has four nutritional doctors and one nurse. They go to wards with doctors to design menus for patients to match their health conditions.

"We will put less oil and sugar in the meals of diabetes patients, for example," she said.

Between five and 15 minutes before the canteen opens, the nutritionists take a trip to sample the food and taste for excessive salt and oil. If their palettes hit a bad dish, they request it be remade.

However, some patients in other hospitals are upset that there is no expert on hand to deal with their food requests.

A patient surnamed Li at Dongzhimen hospital is fed up with his bland meals.

"Patients with skin diseases are not meant to eat spicy and salty foods, but everything in the hospital canteen is salty. My only choice is rice or steamed stuffed buns," he said.

Li Gang, a patient at the department of psychiatry of Dongzhimen hospital who is over 80 years old, told METRO that most canteen food is too tough for his few remaining teeth.

"It would be great if a nutritionist could adjust the menu and its ingredients to make the food healthier and tastier," he said.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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