Dietitians are qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose, and treat diet and nutrition problems. Dietitians help to promote nutritional well-being, treat disease, and prevent nutrition related problems as well as providing advice based on current scientific evidence.
Specialist dietitians working in primary care can support patients with a wide range of conditions including obesity, diabetes, IBS and allergies. Conditions such as obesity, IBS and type 2 diabetes are amongst the biggest healthcare challenges facing the NHS. Dietitians have the expertise and behaviour change skills to support these patients more quickly and effectively, helping people manage their conditions and make important lifestyle changes.
Roadmap to Practice
A Roadmap to Practice is a supportive document that provides a clear educational pathway from undergraduate to advanced practice for clinicians wishing to pursue a career in primary care.
Dietitians must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, completion of an approved degree in dietetics is required. This is usually a BSc (Hons) degree, although there are shortened postgraduate programmes available. A degree apprenticeship standard in dietetics has also been approved.
Health Education England Primary care FCP training must be completed as the minimum threshold for entry to primary care and be supported by appropriate governance and indemnity.
Health Education England primary care FCP training can begin 3-5 years postgraduate
Advanced Dietitians can now train to become supplementary prescribers.
Supervision for Dietitians in Primary Care
Appropriate supervision will be required for all dietitians working in Primary Care.
Existing GP Tutors are able to supervise dieticians undertaking FCP and AP roles and do not need to attend additional training.
GPs who have completed the First Contact Practitioner Supervisor Development two day course can provide clinical supervision to dieticians undertaking FCP and AP roles.
Benefits to patients
Receive advice on eating habits to help the patient improve their health and wellbeing
Receive a tailored eating plan
Receive support to manage conditions including diabetes, heart disease, being overweight and obesity, cancer, food allergies and intolerances
Longer consultation times with dietitians leading to improved outcomes
Benefits to PCN’s
Upskill other primary care professionals in nutrition
Deliver more collaborative and coordinated nutrition care alongside their colleagues to benefit patient care
Help to get patients better and keep them well
Dietitians have the potential to reduce the demand on GP time by patients because their services are effective.
Benefits to the wider NHS
Assist in reducing costly A&E attendances and avoidable hospital admissions by helping patients maintain their health and wellbeing through a healthy balanced diet
Teach and inform the public and health professionals about diet and nutrition
Work to ensure nutrition is included as a priority in patient care.