Awareness of the nutritional requirements of inpatients has been sadly neglected for many years. Students in British medical schools are taught little about clinical nutrition and the role of the dietitian. Dietitians, on the other hand, spend four years learning the science of nutrition and dietetics. In most hospitals in Britain dietitians are responsible for giving advice on a wide range of therapeutic diets, and only a minority specialize in one particular aspect of nutrition and dietetics. Recent changes and developments in nutritional support have offered an exciting and interesting challenge to dietitians, who with their well established background in nutrition, can play an important part in the nutritional care team.