Role Description & Competencies: Dietitian

Source: British Dietetic Association (BDA)

Dietitians are the only qualified healthcare professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level. They have a role to play in increasing capacity in practice through offering expert advice in the effective dietary management of a range of long term conditions and they are at the front of pathways for patients presenting with gastroenterology conditions and food allergies. 

They work with both healthy and sick people. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to support people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. 

What are the benefits of having a Dietitian in the team?


  • Add to the breadth of the Primary Care multidisciplinary team
  • Free up GP time to deal with complex multi-morbidity patients
  • Improve patient care in both adults and children, in relation to nutrition with early advice and interventions
  • See patients at their first point of contact or from a referral for follow-up management
  • Offer dietary, lifestyle and medication advice which can result in less medicine management for chronic conditions
  • Reduce the amount of elderly patients becoming malnourished and leading to frailty & associated complications
  • Effectively manage patients on oral nutrition supplements and enteral feeds at home
  • Ensure the smooth transition of patients discharged from hospital back into primary care and continue them on their diet plans.

What can a Dietitian do in General Practice?

Working within Primary Care Networks provides significant opportunities where dietitians could help improve patient care in both adults and children with early advice and interventions. The scope of their input in primary care ranges across a wide range of conditions:


  • Implement specialist evidence-based nutritional support
  • Enhance self-management skills
  • Advise re: medication/ insulin regimen, blood glucose profiler & lifestyle


  • Diagnosis and management of IBS and Coeliac disease
  • Diagnosis and management of Food allergy/ intolerance
  • Order & interpret relevant investigations
  • Seamless link with secondary care


  • Assessment and management of nutritional needs of patients living with and beyond cancer
  • Appropriate use of prescribed supplements

Mental Health: 

  • Disordered eating habits
  • Childhood obesity planning


  • Management of Paediatric Cow’s Milk Allergies

Dietary Impact on Co-morbidities:

Where weight management & blood pressure control play a key part in management of Long Term Conditions, eg:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Pulmonary disease

Supplementary Prescribers:

  • Supporting PCNs to manage oral nutrition/ sip feed prescriptions for malnutrition (this may reduce prescribing costs)

Wider education roles:

  • Play a pivotal role in education of the multi-disciplinary team
  • Could provide remote consultations, reducing the need for patients to travel to appointments.

What is an AP (Advanced Practice) Dietitian?

An AP Dietitian is a Dietitian who has undertaken a Masters degree in Advanced Clinical Practice. They may see a patient at their first point of contact, or for follow-up management as appropriate with the healthcare system. They will have the skills to assess, diagnose and manage a range of conditions appropriate to their knowledge and expertise and work at an Advanced Clinical Practice level. This is defined as “a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making…It includes the analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings, enabling innovative solutions to enhance people’s experience and improve outcomes.”

What is the maximum reimbursable amount for primary care organisations to recruit this role?

£53,724 over 12 months.

Note: reimbursement under the ARRS will only be possible for Primary Care Networks who engage the services of a Dietitian who is registered with the HCPC.

What is the recommended salary for a Dietitian?

In general practice the Dietitian’s salary can be negotiated, although there is a suggested starting salary of Band 6 AFC equivalent, rising to Band 7 AFC equivalent or above for a qualified Advanced Practitioner Dietitian.

What are the essential mandatory training & professional registration requirements of the role?

  • Mandatory registration every 2 years with Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Must have access to appropriate clinical supervision and professional support
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance covered by BDA for all members.

Is there any additional support available to support the recruitment of Dietitians into General Practice?

Please visit the Initiatives/ Support available link at the bottom of this page to find out more.

What are Dietitians trained to do?

Dietitians will have done a BSc or pre-reg MSc in Dietetics under a training programme approved by the British Dietetic Association (BDA.) Studies consist of areas such as the biochemical and physiological sciences that influence nutrition, and how social sciences link to nutrition, health and disease. Students will have spent time both on practice placements and in reflective taught sessions, allowing them to graduate as skilled, autonomous practitioners.

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