14th December 2016 Hertfordshire joins Uni's offering a non-medical prescribing course for dietitians

The course involves 26 days’ theoretical learning and an additional period of 90 hours’ practice learning, working under the supervision of a designated medical practitioner.  To find out more click here.

20th July 2016 Latest News: The first non-medical prescribing course in the UK has been approved by the HCPC to enrol dietitians

The last piece of the puzzle falls into place! Confirmation has just been received from HCPC that one supplementary prescribing programme at the University of the West of England (Bristol) has had major changes approved at panel to allow for dietitians to be included. This is great news as the HCPC had informed us that there would probably not be any approvals before the end of summer at the earliest.

Let’s hope more HEIs can be persuaded to press on with approval.

We are in a unique position at the moment to be able to gather data pre and post prescribing so we can measure the impact of dietetic supplementary prescribing. If you are keen to be involved and collect data, already manage medicines (not nutritional borderline substances) and are planning to enrol on a non-medical prescribing course when they become available, please email Judy Lawrence  

22nd April 2016 Latest News: Prescribing Courses for Allied Health Professions

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approve and monitor all Allied Health Professions (AHP) courses (including dietetics) to ensure they are fit for purpose. The HCPC visit all Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s e.g., universities) annually to review all AHP courses, unless there is a major change in which case the course is reviewed as required. You can read more about the process here:               

The same applies to AHP prescribing courses. All of the current courses for AHP prescribers are listed here:

Unless the HEI’s request a review, the AHP prescribing courses are revisited at their next scheduled annual review. Equally, the HCPC have said that if a HEI requests a review, it can be brought forward. However, HEI’s will not voluntarily request a review unless there is significant demand from potential students. Therefore, we urge BDA members who would like to enrol on a prescribing course to request the HEI to have their course reviewed ahead of schedule.

26th February 2016: Dietitians to undertake supplementary prescribing

In a very welcome development for patients receiving dietary intervention, dietitians will be able to train to undertake supplementary prescribing where patient need has been identified.

Life Sciences Minister George Freeman MP said:

“Expanding prescribing, supply and administration responsibilities to a wider group of healthcare professionals such as Therapeutic Radiographers, Dietitians and Orthoptists is good news for patients who will be able to access high quality services more quickly and conveniently. It will also help to drive up efficiency by freeing up doctors’ time to care for patients with more complex health care needs and reduce bureaucracy.”

The announcement will smooth patient pathways particularly in long-term conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cystic fibrosis and parenteral nutrition, by allowing practitioners to supplementary prescribe medicines within a clinical management plan.

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 for improved clinical outcomes. “Today’s announcement is fantastic achievement for the prescribing project team, and for the profession as a whole, who have worked tirelessly on behalf of patients”.

Eligible practitioners in England will start to be trained under Health and Care Professions Council accredited courses over the next 6-12 months. The administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will decide whether to adopt the same practice.

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.”

Najia Qureshi BDA Prescribing Project Lead said,

“The process undertaken to get to this point has been a comprehensive and rigorous one, with patient safety as top priority. I have no doubt that patients and services will see a tangible difference when dietitians begin to use supplementary prescribing responsibilities on successful completion of an approved programme”.

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England, said:

“NHS England has been advocating for more opportunities for allied health professionals to make use of the full range of their immense skills, so we welcome this announcement which will give patients receiving care from Dietitians, Orthoptists and Therapeutic Radiographers more timely access to the medicines they need. “It will help develop a more flexible workforce, able to make better use of their skills and innovate to provide services more responsive to the needs of patients, whilst also being cost effective.”

Read more information about the announcement from NHS England, read the NHS England Blog and read the BDA Practice Guidance for Dietetic Supplementary Prescribers

27th November 2015 Latest News: CHM supports recommendation for supplementary prescribing rights for dietitians

Following the public consultation earlier this year, the Commission for Human Medicines (CHM) was asked to consider proposals to introduce supplementary prescribing by dietitians.

We are delighted to inform members that at a meeting in September, the CHM made the decision to support the proposal, subject to ministers approval. The next stage will be for CHM to submit their recommendations to ministers.

For those who are unfamiliar with CHM: The Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) advises ministers on the safety, efficacy and quality of medicinal products. CHM is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health England.

Read the actual minute of the meeting.

We will of course keep members updated as and when we are able to, on any further updates as we progress to the next steps of this major breakthrough for the profession.

27th February 2015 Latest News:
Proposals to introduce supplementary prescribing by Dietitians across the UK goes live

The BDA is delighted to announce that the public consultation on proposals to introduce supplementary prescribing by dietitians across the United Kingdom has now been published.

A patient and public summary for the consultation on proposals to introduce supplementary prescribing by dietitians across the United Kingdom is also available.  However, the summary document has been considerably condensed and does not contain all the detailed information on this proposal such as patient safety, training and education.

Supplementary prescribing by dietitians has the potential to improve patient safety by reducing delays in care and creating clear lines of responsibility and accountability for prescribing decisions. The development of supplementary prescribing by dietitians is part of a drive to make better use of their skills and to make it easier for patients to get access to the medicines that will give them the most benefit.

The BDA will submit a response to the consultation as the professional body as will each of our regional groups.   Everyone however is welcome to respond and NHS England hope to hear from the public, patients/patient representative groups, carers, voluntary organisations, healthcare providers, commissioners, doctors, pharmacists, allied health professionals, nurses, regulators, non-medical prescribers, the Royal Colleges and other representative bodies.

Consultation documents

If you have any questions relating to the consultation please email

BDA members can also find more information in Supplementary Prescribing for Dietitians

28th January 2015: Dietitians move a step closer to gaining supplementary prescribing rights.

Ministers have given the green light for proposals to extend prescribing rights for the Dietetic, Paramedic, Radiography and Orthoptist professions to progress to public consultation later this year.

This has come after a huge amount of work and commitment by the AHP professional bodies and the expertise of their members. Najia Qureshi, BDA Policy Officer (Professional Development) comments: “This is a huge step forward for the profession but more importantly for patient care, particularly in long term conditions such as Renal, Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis and Gastrointestinal Disorders.”

There is still a way to go before prescribing legislation can be changed but the profession is now on the path to realising this aspiration.

Members can click on the POMs section for the full update.

Najia Qureshi: email

Dietitians and Prescribing

There is a close relationship between medicine and food for many conditions such as diabetes, renal disease, gastrointestinal disorders and malnutrition, and as such dietitians have been engaged with food/drug interactions for decades.

Primarily dietitians practice within two classifications of medicines:

  • Prescription only medicines (POMs).
  • Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS).


Prescription-only medicines

Prescription-only medicines (POMs) need a prescription issued by a GP or other suitably qualified healthcare professional eg Advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, radiographers, chiropodists & podiatrists.

Pharmacy medicines

Pharmacy medicines (P) are available from a pharmacy without a prescription, but under the supervision of a pharmacist. This type of medicine is kept ‘behind the counter’ and is not available on the pharmacy shelves.

General sales list medicines

General sales list (GSL) medicines can be bought from pharmacies, supermarkets and other retail outlets without the supervision of a pharmacist. These are sometimes referred to as ‘over-the-counter’ (OTC) medicines. OTC medicines include those that treat minor, self-limiting complaints, which people may feel are not serious enough to see their GP or pharmacist about.


In certain conditions some foods have the characteristics of drugs and The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) recommends products on the basis that they may be regarded as drugs for the management of specified conditions.