07 Feb 2020

The British Dietetic Association has today welcomed the announcement that dietitians and other Allied Health Professionals have been included within an updated GP Contract in England for 2020/21 – 2023/24.

The update means additional funding has been provided to introduce additional staff roles in GP practices, including dietitians, podiatrists and occupational therapists. The BDA has been campaigning for a greater role for dietitians in primary care, where specialist dietitians can support patients with a wide range of conditions including obesity, diabetes, IBS and allergies. 

Najia Qureshi RD Director of Education Practice and Policy, who is leading the BDA’s work on Primary Care and First Contact practice said: “This is great news, and a fitting recognition of the impact on patient outcomes that dietitians can have at a primary care and community level. Conditions such as obesity, IBS and type 2 diabetes are amongst the biggest health challenges facing the NHS. Dietitians have the expertise and behaviour change skills to support these patients more quickly and effectively, helping people manage their conditions and make important lifestyle changes.

“Of course, it will be essential that the funding identified is used to create additional capacity, and that we use this funding specifically to grow the dietetic workforce in this area of practice. The majority of clinical dietitians currently work in essential roles based in the acute care sector. There is also a need to prioritise funding for education and training of the current primary care dietetic workforce alongside the GP Practice team.”  

The BDA and Health Education England is currently funding research by Plymouth University which will demonstrate the improvements in patient outcomes that dietitians can deliver in primary care. The research is due to report later this year.