There are over 9000 Dietitians registered in the UK, an increase of almost 50% in the last decade. The HCPC publishes the latest registration statistics for dietitians as well as historic information which shows how the profession has grown significantly since 1967.
During these years of expansion, the dietetic workforce has changed. The profession is carrying out extended roles that were unthinkable 10 years ago and have introduced new roles such as dietetic support workers, assistant practitioners and nutritionists to the dietetic workforce. Alongside the increase in NHS employed dietitians, the number of dietitians choosing to work outside the NHS and setting up in private practice has also inceased.
In 2016 it was estimated that within the home nation's national health services the total of all dietetic posts (including support staff) equated to around 5500 whole time equivalent positions. The number of individuals working within these positions will be much higher than 5500 as within dietetic services many posts are part time.
Within the national health services in the UK the environment has shifted from one of increasing funds being available to meet the demands for dietetic services to an environment which is much more focussed on demonstrating effectiveness and efficiency in a tight economic climate.
The role of a dietitian within the workforce varies within and between the settings in which they work and according to their position in the Dietetic Career Framework. Experienced and highly skilled Advanced practitioners play a significant part in redesigning services and care pathways within financial constraints inorder to most effectively meet the needs of the population they are serving.