Nutrition services for people with HIV

The importance of good nutrition for those living with HIV and AIDS has been highlighted by the British Dietetic Association.

A specialist group working in this field, Dietitians in HIV and AIDS (DHIVA), provides practical services to support those living with HIV and their dependents, in the form of tailored meals, the delivery of groceries, and cooking and nutrition classes.

A balanced diet can maintain good health, encourage a strong immune system and help to enhance the absorption of nutrients and drugs through the gut.

People living with HIV are more likely to develop high cholesterol, diabetes and osteoporosis, partly as a side effect of some of the antiretroviral medicines and a good diet can help to reduce this risk.

Registered dietitian and chair of DHIVA Alastair Duncan said: “Nutritional interventions for those living with HIV are so important to help maintain a strong and healthy body.

“I would strongly urge anyone who has been diagnosed with HIV to ask their treating doctor or nurse to refer them to a specialist Dietitian or to the excellent charity ‘The Food Chain’ if you live in London.”

RCN reports 50,000 NHS cuts

Nearly 50,000 NHS jobs are under threat, or have already gone in England, a Royal College of Nursing report suggests. This total represents 3.5% of the 1.4 million people employed by the NHS, and the RCN predicts that this figure will rise, as other trusts announce cuts.

RCN chief executive Peter Carter said the consequences of the cuts could be a “deep and potentially dangerous impact on patient care”.

Carter added: “Staffing levels should be based on rigorous clinical evidence and should not be arbitrarily lowered in a short-sighted effort to save money.”

Many of these cuts will be created not through redundancies but by not replacing staff that leave or retire. The cuts do affect all levels of staff, the report states.

However, health minister Simon Burns accused the RCN of “typical trade union scaremongering” and said that it should be possible to make efficiency savings at the same time as improving patient care.

The NHS Confederation acknowledged that the reorganisation of the NHS and managing the financial challenge of making £20bn savings would be very difficult and suggested that working together could ensure that the NHS continues to provide quality care.

David Stout, the NHS Confederation deputy chief executive, said: “The NHS faces major challenges at the moment with growing demands for health services and no real increase in funding.

“That means we have to change how we do things to get the maximum bang for buck on behalf of patients. Put bluntly, this means we have to take out fixed costs – beds and posts – to avoid going bust and to maintain or improve care.

“Given that about 70% of the NHS budget is spent on people, it is unrealistic to expect staff to be unaffected. The RCN is counting the number of job losses and automatically assuming that any job going is bad for patients. That is just is not the case.”

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for National Health Executive an essential guide to health service managers offering a wide view of healthcare news, views and opinions