BDA Response to Closing the Gap Report

BDA Response to Closing the Gap Report

21 March 2019

Responding to today’s report Closing the Gap, a joint report by the Health Foundation, King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust about the NHS workforce, British Dietetic Association (BDA) Chief Executive Andy Burman said:

“This report highlights some of the key challenges facing the healthcare workforce in England and outlines some good policies to resolve them. They rightly recognise the significant challenges to recruiting more GPs and nurses. 

"However, we would argue that in Allied Health Proffesionals (AHPs) the NHS has a quicker, and more effective, option to expand the primary care workforce. It shouldn’t stop at physios and pharmacists, but make use of the full range of AHPs who may well be better placed to provide support or assistance to a patient than a GP.
“A significant proportion of conditions that GPs see on a daily basis are either partly, or entirely, determined by diet and lifestyle. Dietitians could play a core role in supporting GPs to manage patients with obesity, diabetes, IBS and more. 

"Government needs to recognise the huge potential of dietitians and other currently smaller AHPs, who could be playing an even bigger part. Our Dietitians in Primary Care paper outlines this in more detail, and our ongoing research project with the University of Plymouth is looking into the health and financial benefits of primary care dietetics.
“With regards to financial support, although the report focuses on nursing staff, dietitians and other AHPs have faced the same challenges in terms of cost of living since the government’s decision to withdraw bursaries. A grant which recognises that AHP students also spend significant time on clinical placements would be a positive step to ensure that such courses, some of which struggle to recruit full cohorts, are open to everyone with the skills and desire, regardless of means.
“The NHS’s success is built by its hard working staff, so we welcome the report’s call for a “universal offer” to all staff to ensure fair treatment, fair pay and support for ongoing development and training. 

"We also strongly agree that all health and care staff deserve guaranteed real terms pay increases, especially after many years of frozen and below inflation pay offers. Nobody who delivers our health and care services should find themselves struggling financially, but we sadly know that this is the case.
“We hope that these, and many of the other very sensible suggestions included within this report, will be included in the forthcoming workforce implementation plan as part of the NHS England Long Term Plan.”

Notes to the Editor:

  • The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 9,500 members. 

  • Dietitians are highly qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. They are statutorily regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside other Allied Health Professions. 

  • 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. They work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government and global industry to local communities and individuals. 

  • @BDA_Dietitians

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