The opening day of the IrSPEN National Conference was devoted to a policy seminar ‘Establishing nutrition as a safety priority:  Time to act’, attended by nearly 200 invited stakeholders and delegates.
Click here to see programme and speakers

With a theme of ‘Time to Act’ reflecting the consensus that healthcare providers are not doing enough to prioritise nutrition, delegates and invited representatives from the HSE and HIQA heard that undernourished patients are nearly twice as likely to end up in hospital and have poorer outcomes and longer stay than normally nourished patients.

In his opening address, Prof John Reynolds, IrSPEN Chairman commended Dr. Philip Crowley, National Quality Improvement Director for his leadership and commitment to making nutrition and hydration a priority within the 2015 Service plan.  Dr. John Fitzsimons, Clinical Director for Quality Improvement spoke on Dr. Crowley’s behalf with Olivia Sinclair and Margaret O Neill presenting on HSE plans for improving the quality of nutrition and food across the healthcare system.

The more we treat, the more we save
Prof Marinos Elia, world expert in malnutrition and medical nutrition presented updated findings from a new costing report that shows that malnourished patients in England cost over three times more to manage than non-malnourished patients. He presented evidence from systematic reviews that nutrition supplementation of patients reduced risks of complications, length of stay and readmission rates, leading to substantial cost savings, concluding ‘the more we treat, the more we save’.

Strong case for hospital and community screening programmes
Presentations demonstrating the success of local nutrition screening programmes were given by Elaine Bradley, Beaumont hospital, Hilda Griffin, St. Mary’s Hospital and Dr. Sharon Kennelly, Midlands Community Area. All clearly highlighted benefits for patients and the health service, with reductions in length of stay and potential savings of between €1800 and 3000 per patient identified in six month pilot test at Beaumont hospital.

Intestinal Failure centre for adults lacking in Ireland
Professor Bourke made a powerful case for establishing an adult specialist centre for intestinal failure in the Republic of Ireland and said that it was unprecedented for a developed country to have no such service. Currently plans are in place to work with IrSPEN and the HSE to address this issue.
Click here for the IrSPEN Special Report, A Review of Home Parenteral Nutrition in Ireland

Dr John Fitzsimons

Dr John Fitzsimons
Clinical Director for Quality Improvement, HSE
Nutrition and Hydration – a forgotten safety priority.
Download available here


Professor Billy Bourke
Lead consultant paediatric gastroenterologist at Crumlin Children’s Hospital
Intestinal Failure – are we failing our most challenging patient group?
Download available here

Elaine Bradley

Elaine Bradley
Clinical Nurse Manager at Beaumont Hospital
Implementing good nutritional care in hospitals: focus on screening.
Download available here

Sharon Kennelly headshot cropped

Dr Sharon Kennelly
Senior Community / Research Dietitian, HSE
Identifying and treating nutritional risk in primary care: case study.
Download available here

Charles Normand

Professor Charles Normand
Chair of Health Policy and Management Trinity College Dublin
Can a national programme to improve nutritional care deliver savings?
Download available here

Olivia Sinclair and Margaret O'Neill

Olivia Sinclair, Project Manager, Quality Improvement Directorate
Margaret O’Neill, National dietetic lead, Health & Wellbeing division, HSE
The way forward: Improving nutritional care in the HSE. Download available here

To download the detailed Conference Programme Click here

IrSPEN Conference brochure available for download, click here

If you would like a hard copy please contact:

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To view the Gallery of Speakers and Delegates for the Policy Seminar

Click here