Dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level.
They use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
They often work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams to treat complex clinical conditions such as diabetes, food allergy and intolerance, IBS syndrome, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, malnutrition, kidney failure and bowel disorders.
They utilise behaviour modification methods and motivational interviewing techniques as well as innovative digital practice to enable service users to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices to manage their own conditions, and so have a significant impact on clinical outcomes.
If you are thinking of employing a dietician or you are a dietician looking to work in primary care, there is a range of useful information and resources published by the British Dietetics Association:
Scope of Practice
The role of the dietitian in primary care is to assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems and play a big part in enabling patients to manage their own health. They provide nutritional screening, advice on food fortification, swallowing issues, diabetes, and weight management. They can extend these services to care homes. They are HCPC registered.
Dietitians working in Primary Care will be experienced, autonomous practitioners with at least 5 years post registration experience. After completing Primary Care specific training, they can work as First Contact Practitioners (FCPs). FCPs are diagnostic clinicians who see the patient first and assess and manage undifferentiated and undiagnosed presentations.
Most dietitians are either trained to work with adults or children, it is rare that a dietitian will be able to work at a clinically advanced level with both. While all dietitians will have generalist knowledge of a wide range of conditions relating to diet and nutrition, but they may specialise in one area. Dietitians within Primary Care may work with adults with the following:
- Overweight and obesity
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- BSc (Hons) dietetics degree or shortened postgraduate programme with a relevant first degree
If employed under ARRS contract, Dietitians will need to complete stage 1 & 2 of the first contact practitioner (FCP) pathway as outlined by Health Education England (HEE), within the first 12-18 months of commencing.
FCP dietitians can complete this accreditation via 2 routes: a portfolio or higher education route (HEI). Completion of the HEI route result in 45-60 credits at level 7. A supervisor is required for both routes. The training listed below is essential if you want to sign off your FCP following a portfolio route.
From April 2021 onwards, paramedics can be employed under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).
Funding for Advanced Practice Training
There are 4 possible funding options available for Advanced Practice training, see further info below or contact the Devon Training Hub direct to find out more:
The 3 year CPD allowance of £1000 for AHPs came to an end on 31st March 2023. A deadline for submission of final claims by practices was set for 21st April 2023. DTH are working with the ICS to decide on how to allocate any underspend. For more information on CPD funding please contact email@example.com
Should have access to monthly supervision from a GP, consultant practitioner or advanced practitioner. Should also have an appropriate named individual in the PCN to provide general advice and support on a day-to-day basis
Devon Training Hub have recently produced a summary guide covering the supervision of all roles including GPs, Nurses, Non-Medical Prescribers, Advanced Practitioners and new roles funded through the ARRS scheme.
The guide contains the latest information on supervision requirements for each role, which team members of the team can supervise them, & details of training requirements & CPD opportunities for supervisors.
Learning & Development
Devon Training Hub Offers
You will find multiple training opportunities on our website.
DTH offer a range of modules relevant to first contact practitioners in primary care including:
- Introduction to Clinical Red Flags
- Consultations Skills & MDT Working
- GP How does it work?
- Chronic Disease updates
For those new to primary care, we are pleased to offer a bespoke course to support you in your exciting new role; Transition to primary care (consisting of 4 F2F days in various locations in Devon) dates to be confirmed. Please contact Kerryfirstname.lastname@example.org for further info.
For information on Communities of Practice / Peer Learning Groups in Devon & the South West please contact Devon Training Hub directly or see our DTH Guide to ARRS Community of Practice.