First Contact Practitioner – Dietician


Poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of disease. Dietitians diagnose and treat diet and nutritional problems, at an individual patient – and wider public health – level. Working in a variety of settings with patients of all ages, Dietitians support changes to food intake to address diabetes, food allergies, coeliac disease and metabolic diseases.

Dietitians also translate public health and scientific research on food, health and disease into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

Job Responsibilities

  • As an FCP, the dietitian is a diagnostic clinician who sees the patient first and assesses and manages undifferentiated and undiagnosed presentations.
  • Asses patients with a wide range of different conditions via a range of different means e.g. 1:1, email and visits to care homes  
  • Review patients who self-refer with a predetermined and agreed range of symptoms and/or conditions
  • Receive and respond to patient referrals from GPs, Practice Nurses, Health Visitors,
  • Gain supplementary prescribing rights (with additional training) to review appropriate prescribing and where necessary, deprescribe prescription only medicines. Dietitians are currently undertaking this with a range of prescription only medicines which include, but are not limited to: insulin and oral hypoglycaemic agents, laxatives, pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, proton pump inhibitors, prokinetics, bile acid sequestrants, anti-diarrhoeals, antiemetics, phosphate binders/alfacalcidol, and parenteral nutrition Manage appropriate use of nutrition supplements and feeds, from commencement to review to discontinuation
  • Undertake health promotion activities
  • Utilising behaviour change skills and follow up patients when deemed necessary 
  • Support delivery of patient education sessions (often jointly with other healthcare professionals) e.g. for diabetes, weight management
  • Deliver nutrition training for Primary Care and nursing home staff e.g. malnutrition screening, making an appropriate referral
  • Support routine long term condition reviews
  • Support the management of patients with multimorbid health conditions where there may be conflicting advice around nutrition therapy; for example, managing cardiovascular disease and malnutrition

Training and Development

Dietitians must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, completion of an approved degree (BSc) or pre-reg MSc in a training programme approved by the British Dietitic Association  master in dietetics is required.

Health Education England Primary Care FCP training must be completed as the minimum threshold for entry to Primary Care and be supported by appropriate governance and indemnity. Health Education England Primary Care FCP training can begin 3-5 years postgraduate

Dietitians working as first contact practitioners or advanced practitioners will need to provide evidence against the knowledge, skills and attributes included in the dietetic roadmap (HERE)

Further Information

Dietitians-in-primary-care-a-guide-for-general-practice.pdf (