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The first web trawl of the year examines two very different, but important, UK based web sites, covering the fields of clinical nutrition and health protection.
http://www.bapen.org.uk This is the web site of the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, which promotes education and research into clinical nutrition. From the home page, the user has a choice of links to pages providing information on the association’s activities and conferences, and to resources for health care workers and patients covering aspects of nutrition ranging from the delivery of drugs via enteral feeding tubes, to home parenteral nutrition. All are available in pdf format, and may be downloaded free of charge. Of particular value is the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST), which is used to screen adults for malnutrition, to identify those at risk of malnutrition, and also to identify those adults who are obese. It includes guidelines that will assist in developing a management plan for each individual patient. The site is clearly laid out and easy to use. All recently updated pages are listed on the home page, which also states the last date on which the site was updated. (Two weeks ago at the time of writing). There are no restrictions to accessing the available material, a previous restricted area for members (for which a link still exists) has now been closed and all information is freely available. This web site will be of interest to those working in the field of nutrition, as well as patients and their carers.
http://www.hpa.org.uk/ The Health Protection Agency (HPA) describes itself as an independent body protecting the health and wellbeing of the population. The HPA is based in England, but there are associated organisations in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and their web sites can be accessed directly from that of the HPA. From the home page, the user has a choice of literally dozens of links to pages covering topics including infections diseases, radiation, and chemicals and poisons. An A to Z list of topics is also provided and there are links to well over a hundred individual pages, each of which provides advice and information directed at both the health professional and members of the public. The home page also provides a list of particularly topical issues; at the time of writing, avian influenza and the influenza vaccine were the two topics heading the list. Again the site is clearly laid out and very easy to use. Considering the immense amount of material available, the site is very simple to navigate, and even the novice user, provided they have a clear idea what type of information they were searching for, should have no difficulty using the site. All information is available without restriction and the site appears to be updated on essentially a daily basis. For anyone seeking information on any health topic from avian influenza through bioterrorism to zoonoses and everything in between, I would recommend this site as your first port of call—you will almost certainly find what you are looking for.