What can dieticians do in primary care?
Dieticians are one of five First Contact Practitioner (FCP) roles in Primary Care under the Additional Roles Reimbursement scheme (ARRs). For more generic and detailed on all FCP and Advanced practitioner (AP) roles please see the Advanced practice section (coming online soon).
Roles dieticians might undertake in Primary Care (noting this list is not exhaustive):
- Support patients with weight management
- Manage patients with suspected or diagnosed Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Support diabetic and pre-diabetic (Non-diabetic hyperglycaemia) patients and other long term conditions (eg CVD, stroke)
- Specialist nutrition and dietary advice to patients, their carers and healthcare professionals
- Work as part of a MDT, which could include supporting care homes
- Input into patients with frailty or multi-morbidities
- Infant feeding
- Make recommendations to PCN staff regarding changes to medications for the nutritional management of patients, based on interpretation of biochemical, physiological, and dietary requirements
- Support patients with coeliac disease and function bowel disorders
- Advice for those with food allergies and intolerances
- Some dieticians will be able to prescribe (for example nutritional supplements, infant formulas, PPIs, anti-spasmodic medication) or could undergo this training at a suitable point in their career
A guide to dieticians in primary care can be found at: Dietitians-in-primary-care-a-guide-for-general-practice.pdf (bda.uk.com)
Below is a link to a webinar the British Dietetic Association have produced with WT&E. Although a slightly longer webinar (one hour) this covers the FCP dietician role and explains a bit more about FCPs in general. A second webinar on the same link discusses OT an dietician roles in primary care and gives examples of how the role can be used successfully. First Contact Dietitian | British Dietetic Association (BDA)
Please also see a link to a further Webinar from NHS England – ‘Session one: Focus on Dieticians’. This webinar is hosted on NHS Futures, you will therefore need to login to access the webinar.
Training and Supervision
Dieticians will usually have completed a BSc in Dietetics, approved as a training programme by the British Dietetic Association (BDA). Dieticians will need to hold a registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) also.
As mentioned above dieticians within Primary Care are banded at level 7, as FCPs. To become an FCP, professionals will need a minimum of 5 years postgraduate experience. Workforce Transformation and Education have developed ‘roadmaps’ to outline the required training and experience needed to progress to an FCP level, and onwards to advanced practice, as required/appropriate.
The roadmap for dieticians can be found on the right hand side of this page.
WT&E Roadmap FAQs can be a useful source of information: Roadmap FAQs | Workforce Transformation and Education (hee.nhs.uk).
For further information on FCPs please click here (link coming soon).
A roadmap supervisor will be needed to support FCP dieticians in their training and ongoing development. Eligibility for roadmap supervisors includes:
- GP Trainers/Educational Supervisors (ES’s do not need to do the 2 day course but have an optional top up session available on e-learning for health- Top up Training Video for GP Educational Supervisors – elearning for healthcare (e-lfh.org.uk))
- Clinicians who have a post registration Masters degree (Pre registration Masters degrees DO NOT qualify)
- Full MACP member
- First Contact Practitioners who are recognised by the WT&E Centre
- Advanced Practitioners who are recognised by the WT&E Centre
The Gloucestershire Primary Care Training hub has an FCP/AP lead and 2 Primary Care supervision fellows who are available to support with roadmap and supervision queries. Please contact PCWC inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your query and this can be forwarded onto the right person. Funding has been given to each PCN to support backfill for attendance of GPs who are not already GP trainers, to attend the 2 day roadmap supervisor course.
An example job description can be found on the right of the page. Further recruitment advice including suggestions of where to advertise for dieticians can be found in the following document: Dietitians-in-primary-care-a-guide-for-general-practice.pdf (bda.uk.com).
WT&E has produced some video case studies which are available at: Dietitians in primary care | Workforce Transformation and Education (hee.nhs.uk)
There are some slides on this site that might be useful for waiting rooms: How can a dietitian help you? | British Dietetic Association (BDA)
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