About dietitians in general practice
Diet and obesity are the main factors or one of the main factors in the causes of many long-term conditions (LTCs) or Ambulatory Care Sensitive conditions (ACS) including diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, stroke, heart disease and mental health conditions. This means that dietary treatment is key to the management of these conditions.
We also know that 96% of people living with malnutrition are in the community, and more needs to be done to prevent people ending up in the hospital with malnutrition. Food-related ill health is responsible for approximately 10% of all morbidity and mortality in the UK and this costs the NHS £6 billion annually.
How can dietitians support patients?
- enable patients to self-manage their conditions
- make ‘prevention’ possible in primary care
- manage prescribed medicines effectively and efficiently
- manage the prescribing of Nutritional Borderline Substances (NBS) products such as gluten free foods, oral nutritional supplements, enteral feeds and infant formulae
- reduce the need for expensive referrals to secondary care and the need for hospitalisation
- utilise technology effectively
- be part of the multidisciplinary primary care home team
How do they support GP practices?
Many patients that have previously require a lot of time and support from GPs have been shown to be effectively treated by dietitians e.g. obese patients, patients with diabetes, IBS and malnourished patients. Advanced dietitians can train to become supplementary prescribers and prescribe medicines that the patient would otherwise have to see the GP for.