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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. 

Working in Primary Care

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) represent the whole of the dietetic workforce in the UK. Click on the button below to view helpful resources and information links from the BDA, which support dietitians to develop professional practice within Primary Care.

Training/Development and supervision

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.

  • NHS 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.

  • NHS 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 dietitians 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 dietitians undertaking FCP and AP roles.

Benefits to patients, PCNs and the wider NHS

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

Dietitian - sample job description

Please see a sample job description that you can adapt to suit your PCNs requirements.