Nutrition and Dietetics

Nutrition and Dietetics

dietetics.jpgOur dietetics service supports children by offering practical dietary advice or nutrition support to help improve their management of a specific health condition.

Dietitians at Alder Hey work across many different departments and services, as well as with the catering team to provide special diets for inpatients.

When a child or young person is referred to us we will:

  • Assess the need for dietary management
  • Check height, weight and other measures of growth and nutritional status
  • Plan the correct feed or diet based on our assessment
  • Explain the dietary treatment in a way that is understandable and manageable
  • Monitor the child’s progress and advise on changes when needed
  • Keep all the healthcare professionals involved up to date about dietary changes

When should a child see a dietitian?

There are a wide variety of diseases and conditions that may be helped by referral to a dietitian. Some of the reasons include:

  • Poor weight gain and growth
  • Higher than normal requirement for food and nutrition
  • Conditions which cause poor digestion of food
  • Conditions requiring changes to food intake, for example diabetes, food allergies, coeliac disease and inherited metabolic diseases
  • Children who have difficulties eating and drinking food and will require tube feeding
  • Children who need intravenous feeding

Further information

Food and dietary information for families

You will find clear advice and ideas about what to give children to eat, at all ages and stages on the Food Standards Agency website


I am confused about what age to start giving my baby solid food?

The current Department of Health advice is to introduce solid food from 6 months. There are lots of sources of help and advice, including your health visitor, local children’s centres and online help at


My GP has told me my child is overweight. Can you help?

We are sorry that we are unable to see children who are overweight but there are many people who can help you. Most local areas will be running projects to help children and their families lose weight. Depending on where you live there are different community based services you can access.


How do I become a Dietitian?

There are two ways to qualify as a registered dietitian:

  1. Completion of a relevant degree
  2. Completion of a post graduate qualification


Where can I go for more help with...?


Special Feeds Unit

The special feeds unit (SFU) is an integral part of the dietetic department, responsible for the safe preparation of specialised infant formulas and enteral feeds to exacting standards of accuracy, in an environment that is clean and meets the requirements of the food standards act. The SFU should only be used for the preparation of specialised infant formulas and enteral feeds. Where possible sterile, ready to feed products will be provided for patient use.

Requests for specialised infant formulas and enteral feeds should be ordered through order entry section of Meditech.

The feeds unit is open 365 days a year.

  • 8am – 4pm, Monday to Friday
  • 8am - 2pm, weekends and Bank Holidays

Information for professionals: Referrals

We currently accept referrals for children under the care of an Alder Hey Consultant. Patients can be referred by letter or Meditech. Referrals must include the following:

  • Weight
  • Length or height
  • Head circumference if under 2 years
  • Relevant clinical details
  • Reason for referral

We are unable to accept referrals for common childhood nutritional problems as these are more correctly dealt with by the primary care team. These include iron deficiency, obesity and constipation.

We are unable to accept referrals from GPs. GP referrals should be made to the local community paediatric dietitians. Your local PCT should be able to direct you to appropriate services.

Services in the Community

What we do

The Community Children's Dietetic Service in Sefton provides up to date information and guidance about childhood nutritional matters to children, carers, professionals in contact with children, and a variety of patient support groups.

The service supports children who require a special diet, and their carers. They ensure nutritional needs are met and adjusted for growth and disease progression.

Find us

Hoghton Street Clinic
52 Hoghton Street
Tel:01704 395899
Fax:01704 395880

Hours of service

Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4pm


Referrals to the service can be received from any Health or Social Care Practitioner for 0-16 year olds living in the Sefton area.

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Alder Hey Children's Charity
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