Nutritional support networks


Intravenous literature: Powell-Tuck, J. (2009) Teams, strategies and networks: developments in nutritional support; a personal perspective. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 68(3), p.289-95.


Chris Pennington was an archetypal team player, strategist and networker. Clinical nutritional support has progressed remarkably since the 1970s and it has been a privilege to work in this field over this period during which teamwork, strategy development and networking have been crucial. British experience has been characterised by groups of individuals of differing professions and specialties coming together to enable progress to be made. This approach was initially in the form of nutrition support teams orientated to patient-centred ward-based care, then as hospital strategic committees and the concept of the ‘patient journey’. Indeed, the formation of the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (now known as BAPEN) in 1992 required the statesmanlike burying of jealousies as societies came together into a multiprofessional association. With the understanding that disease-related malnutrition was highly prevalent it became apparent that it must be managed on a broad and organised clinical front. In the Organisation of Food and Nutritional Support in Hospitals a group of professionals developed for BAPEN concepts of hospital-wide organisation to tackle malnutrition that were based on previous reports, both national and international, and were made easily accessible from the BAPEN website, especially the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence nutrition guidelines. The coming together of six national clinical societies to develop evidence-based consensus guidelines for intravenous saline therapy (also on the BAPEN website) has shown that BAPEN can catalyse opinion well beyond its own nutritional constituency. In England Chris Pennington’s Scottish lead is being followed by developing a patient-centred strategic framework for a managed home parenteral nutrition and intestinal failure national network. In research, education or clinical practice the engines of progress have been teams, strategies and networks.


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