Background The prevalence of childhood vitamin D deficient rickets in the UK is rising due to lack of sun exposure. The Department of Health, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have devised guidelines on vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy, breastfeeding and childhood. A recent Government initiative, Healthy Start vitamins allow access to free vitamin D for women and children from low-income families. Despite these measures, evidence suggests that awareness rate among the doctors remain poor.
Aim To assess the awareness of national (NICE and RCPCH) and local health board guidelines on vitamin D supplementation amongst junior doctors.
Methods A prospective questionnaire was given to two batches of junior doctors randomly during their rotation in the paediatric department at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Results The study period was during September 2014 to March 2015. The total numbers of junior doctors participated in the study were 27. Of which, 48% were ST1-ST3, 26% were ST4 and above, 15% were Foundation year 1 and 2 and rest of the 11% was contributed by staff grade. The results showed only 15% of the junior doctors were enquiring about vitamin D supplements during their admission consultation even though 96% were enquiring about feeding practice. About 63% of junior doctors were checking health board guideline which was based on the RCPCH guidelines. 55% were aware of the Healthy Start Vitamin programme.
Conclusions Most of the junior doctors are not enquiring about Vitamin D supplements during their consultation even though half of them are aware of the local and national guidelines.
Recommendations To raise awareness of the importance of the vitamin D supplementation at the beginning of their placement could be introduced as a part of their hospital induction. Questions about Vitamin D supplementation as well as feeding pattern could be added to the paediatric admission proforma.
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