Letters, calls and emails: NHS cash should pay for drugs, not food

Dear Editor

What a cheery photo of Noel Edmonds et al hosting 'Fresi Steady Cook', organised by Fresenius Kabi (GP, 23 November).

I don't believe that a firm that markets sipfeeds and food supplements has the slightest interest in the preparation of nutritious ordinary food.

They are only interested in selling their products, in which they are aided and abetted by the government, which is stupid enough not to restrict the prescription of these substances, and by an army of dieticians.

I used to think a dietician's course lasted about two years. I now realise it probably lasts as long as it takes to learn to fill in a form and send it to a GP demanding the prescribing of yet more sipfeed.

As for the dietician hoping to run in and out of the care home in five minutes, and leave a note for the GP to give £300 worth of such a feed a month, what a shock it would be if the matron said: 'There's a Tesco next door. I'd like you to talk me through which soups, yoghurts, etc, are not only cheaper and more balanced than your sipfeeds, but more palatable.'

The biggest annoyance is that these dieticians are employed by the same primary care organisations that are leaning on us to cut our prescribing budgets.

Some renal and hepatic patients coming out of our local hospitals have a more expensive list of sipfeeds, than drugs. Our budget is to treat patients not feed them.

Dr Rob Whelan, Chorley, Lancashire.

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