Fantastic news from Minister George Freeman, supplementary prescribing becomes a reality for the dietetic profession

Fantastic news from Minister George Freeman, supplementary prescribing becomes a reality for the dietetic profession

26 February 2016

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is delighted to share breaking news that dietitians have been granted supplementary prescribing rights. This significant decision made by Minister George Freeman, means that advanced level and experienced dietitians, who have successfully completed an approved post graduate education and training programme, will be able to prescribe medicines for their patients under a clinical management plan.

The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for registered dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,500 members.

What does this mean dietitians can do?

Supplementary prescribing means that dietitian will form a voluntary prescribing partnership between the independent medical prescriber (usually a doctor) and the supplementary prescriber (the dietitian), to implement an agreed patient-specific clinical (medicines) management plan with the patient’s agreement.

Supplementary prescribing by dietitians also has the potential to improve patient safety by reducing delays in care and creating clear lines of responsibility and accountability for prescribing decisions.

Patient benefits will become particularly significant in long-term conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cystic fibrosis and parenteral feeding, where diet and disease management are inextricably linked.

A prescribing project team at the BDA has been working extremely hard to achieve this outcome for over a decade.

Andy Burman, BDA CEO said,

“This is a landmark decision for the dietetic profession. Dietitians have known for years what a difference prescribing responsibilities would make to patient care and to redesigning services. The prescribing project team rose to all the challenges put to them, and made a strong case for dietetic supplementary prescribing, under rigorous scrutiny from other professions, the public, NHS England and the devolved administrations. Today’s announcement is a fantastic achievement for the prescribing project team, and for the profession as a whole”. 

Fiona McCullough, the BDA Chairman said,

“It is clear that this was a momentous decision by the Minister to support the case, and a result of which the profession can be rightly proud.”

Read the full announcement from NHS England online and the NHS blog.

Read more on the BDA Prescribing page where you can see a video explaining Prescribing.

The BDA will continue to support dietetic prescribing, and will now concentrate on supporting members in their efforts to implement the new legislation.


For more information / interview requests, please contact the BDA Press Office on:

0800 048 1714


 Notes to the Editor:

  • Visit the BDA website at
  • Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians 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.
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, Non-Government Organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.


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