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More dietitians needed in primary care workforce

Sustain member The British Dietetic Association (BDA) responds to the government announcement to expand the primary care workforce in England by saying that dietitians need to be part of this new recruitment drive.

Close up of a doctor. Photo credit: Pexels

Close up of a doctor. Photo credit: Pexels

NHS England have announced that they are recruiting more than 20,000 physiotherapists, pharmacists and paramedics to work alongside GPs in local surgeries. However, missing from this list of professionals are dietitians which, The British Dietetic Association says, provide a vital role in managing and preventing conditions such as diabetes, obesity, IBS and malnutrition.

The BDA chair Caroline Bovey believes more people working in primary care practices is a welcome move but NHS England needs to recognise the role of dietitians:

“Dietitians in primary care settings can also be the first point of contact for many conditions and for effective control for many living with diet related long term conditions. Without effective attention to dietetic interventions supporting a well-nourished population other medical or therapy interventions are known to be less effective and potentially therefore costlier, something we cannot afford in these times of financial pressures in the NHS.”

The BDA believes that dietitians can make a huge impact in primary care in a wide range of ways, including reducing demand on GP time, bolstering prevention provision, improving the management of medicines and specialist nutrition products and reducing the need for expensive referrals to secondary care.

The BDA has commissioned Plymouth University to undertake research to provide robust evidence of the effectiveness of dietitians in a primary care setting. This work is being supported by Health Education England, and it is hoped it will be published at the end of 2019.

Published Wednesday 6 February 2019

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