Nualtra promises to save NHS millions with special foods
A Ballymoney man is helping shake up nutrition for hospital patients thanks to a new product which he says could save the NHS millions of pounds.
Paul Gough is founder of clinical nutrition company Nualtra, which now supplies over 100 NHS clinical commissioning groups in the UK and all five health trusts in Northern Ireland.
Based in Limerick and set up in 2012, the company, which employs 18 people, manufactures protein and calorie-rich food for special medical purposes to assist in the clinical treatment of malnutrition.
The shakes and dessert-style meals are used in the treatment of cancer patients, dementia sufferers, those with diabetes and any illness or condition that makes it difficult to meet nutritional requirements through normal diet.
Mr Gough is now taking on the big players like Danone and Nestle and predicts that using Nualtra products will offer an annual saving to the NHS budget in Northern Ireland of £1.8m a year versus the current supplier.
This equates to having approximately 80 extra nurses which could be employed.
Nualtra said it has saved the HSE in the Republic around €10m (£7.5m) since launching two years ago.
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Mr Gough, a former dietitian and nutritionist in the NHS and HSE, said: When the economic crisis hit back in 2008 I became keenly aware of the high cost of dietary supplements and that sparked something in my head.
"There are four big players who have the lion's share of the market and I wondered why no one else was bringing anything to the table.
"My goal was to not only launch my own brand of products but also to make them taste better - as a common complaint about oral nutritional supplements and meal replacements is that they do not taste good.
"We've grown to capture a 25% market share of Ireland so naturally we looked to the next door neighbour, the NHS in Northern Ireland.
"These are ready-to-drink milkshakes and we do get reports that they taste much better than what our competitors are offering.
"Added to that are the savings. We are bringing out another three products which we estimate could offer another £300,000 per month saving to the NHS in Northern Ireland."
Mr Gough added: "Other markets we are looking at are Asia-Pacific and South America, because they are growing so fast."