More Dietitians needed in primary health care

More dietitians are needed in primary health care to ease the burden of preventable diseases on a health system at breaking point.

In a press release from Dietitians NZ reported in Scoop 17 May 2021 it was noted that:

Up to 24% of GP visits are nutrition-related and could be covered by a dietitian to relieve pressure on the strained GP sector.

More dietitians in an equitable and collaborative primary health care setting are required to meet the growing burden of preventable disease on the population

A first of its kind report in New Zealand found an overwhelming need to include more dietitians in primary health care, with every $1 spent on funding dietitians estimated to deliver a cost-saving benefit to the health sector of $99 over five years.

Dietitians NZ, the professional association for registered dietitians, is urging the Government to invest in primary health care dietitians as part of the recent health sector reform announcements.

With type 2 diabetes alone expected to cost the health system $3.5 billion in two decades, early dietary education to prevent onset and reduce complications of preventable diseases is crucial. Just 6% of dietitians are currently employed in the primary health care setting and Dietitians NZ is calling for this to change.

The report found that dietitians could share the burden of work currently overloading GPs across the country, with 16-24% of GP visits able to be covered by a dietitian instead. Including dietitians in multi-disciplinary teams would not only help reduce GP workloads, but may also address the longer-term shortage of GPs.

Also this release was picked up by Mike Hosking on News talkZB

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