Roadmap changes for First Contact Dietitians

07 Sep 2023

NHS England (NHSE) has made changes to the Roadmap process for First Contact Dietitians (FCDs) working in Primary Care. Letters relating to the updates have now been sent out to those affected, if you have not received a copy you can access this on the Primary Care Basecamp. Please email [email protected] to be added to the basecamp if you are not already a member.

The changes affect FCDs currently undertaking the portfolio route of the FCP Roadmap, those about to do so, and members currently acting as supervisors in the process. The Roadmap was established by Health Education England (HEE) now NHSE Workforce, Training and Education team (NHSE WTE).

What is changing?

The key changes are as follows:

  • The independent portfolio route is to be closed (date to be confirmed). There will be a six-month run-off period after this date, to allow those already undertaking the portfolio route time to complete it. And instead, a supported portfolio route via Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) will be established. This will run alongside the existing taught routes.
  • Responsibility for supervision will lie with Primary Care Training Hubs (PCTHs) and schools, in collaboration with the HEIs. Any ongoing role for Roadmap Supervisors is not entirely clear.
  • Stage 3 of the Roadmap (which outlined a route to AP from FCP) is being removed.
  • NHSE WTE will no longer offer recognition of FCD level of practice through a digital badge for those who have already completed the Roadmap, as part of a move to self-regulation.

The BDA’s position

The changes being implemented by NHSE WTE should lead to a more effective, better governed system of recognition using HEIs’ quality assurance processes, which will be easier for members to navigate with better support processes in place. 

Portfolio changes

The independent portfolio route has been challenging to members, with many dietitians opting instead to undertake a taught route. We as a professional body welcome clearer and more robust routes to qualifying as a First Contact Dietitian. 
For those who have already started the current portfolio route, if your are unable to complete it within the six month timeframe, you will be able to transfer to the support portfolio route.


The BDA fully supports the intention to improve governance and process around the Roadmap by moving supervision into Primary Care Training Hubs and HEIs. However, any members who have undertaken the training to become a supervisor may be disadvantaged by this decision. There may be opportunities to undertake further training for a broader supervision role. Anyone affected will be contacted by NHSE WTE.

Stage 3

The BDA is aware that Stage 3 can lead to confusion and therefore we accept that removing it is the correct action to ensure frameworks around Advanced Practice are aligned.


HEE and now NHSE have continually moved the goalposts around recognition. Initially members were offered recognition via the Centre for Advanced Practice, which was to hold an FCP directory. This was then changed to a digital badge, which has now been withdrawn.

What happens next?

The NHSE WTE team plans to email all members who have completed the recognition surveys in the Roadmap, and further communications are planned in the coming months about the new training route.

If members have questions these should be directed to local Primary Care Training Hubs. 

In the longer term these changes should lead to a more standardised, more effective and better governed system of recognition that will provide members with a better-quality learning experience. The BDA continues to work with WTE to take onboard feedback to ensure the next stages of change are handled well. The BDA will continue to work with the NHSE team to ensure that dietitians working in or towards First Contact roles are heard.