Dietetics: New ways of working in Primary Care

Mary Hickson, Avril Collinson and Jenny Child have been exploring new ways of working to manage malnutrition and frailty and childhood allergy in GP surgeries. They have also explored how dietitians can successfully take on a first contact practitioner role. Three service evaluations have demonstrated the value of a dietitian in the general practice team. They are planning a larger study to explore the cost benefits of these models.

Dietitians working as a First Contact Practitioner to treat frailty and malnutrition within the general practice setting.

Dietitians, acting as first contact practitioners, can deliver significant improvements in care for older people at risk of malnutrition and frailty as part of the practice multi-disciplinary team. They can save money by optimising the use of nutritional supplements and by improving co-ordination of care.

Read the published paper here

<p>Dietitian as First Contact Info 1&amp;2</p>
<p>Dietitian as First Contact Info 3&amp;4</p>
<p>Dietitian as First Contact Prac. Info. 5&amp;6</p>

Dietitians working to enhance the multi-disciplinary team within general practice.

Dietitians can support quality patient-centred care in the primary care setting, offering a valuable and cost effective resource to general practice. They can act as an ‘expert generalist’ within a general practice multi-disciplinary team, and treat and advise patients with a wide range of diagnoses, both paediatric and adult. They can save money by ensuring nutrition prescriptions and related medications are appropriate and monitored. Importantly, dietitians can improve patients’ health and reduce the risk of complications, and educate staff to support evidence based nutritional care.

Read the published paper or see the infographic below.

Dietitians working with primary care to manage paediatric allergy

Two models of care were compared, one was Dietetic-Led Care and the other was a traditional model based on referrals to a specialist service. The dietetic-led care showed reductions in GP and consultant referrals and managed the care in amore patient centred way. Patients were seen more quickly, diagnosed earlier, and had fewer referrals to other professionals. Dietitians trained other professionals within the multi-disciplinary team to identify and appropriately refer paediatric patients with suspected food allergies. This ultimately reduced the use of GP time with these patients.


<p>Role of the Dietitian Infographic 2</p>
<p>Food Allergens Infographic</p>

Dietetics, Human Nutrition and Health Research Group

Nutrition is integral to life and health; it influences growth, development, maintenance of health, and can be used to treat disease. This research group encompasses all these aspects of nutritional research and will collaborate across professions and with other institutes, promoting inter-disciplinary research between in the area of nutrition.


Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

The Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) is a thriving community that conducts adventurous world-leading research with the explicit purpose of improving the health and care of the populations we serve. 

Our work is grounded in the needs of the people of the South West and other rural, coastal, and deprived communities worldwide, but PIHR’s research has national and international reach and impact. 

Find out more about the work of PIHR