What is a Dietitian?

A dietitian (also known as a Nutritionist) is a qualified and regulated health professional that assesses, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level.

They use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.


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

  • check-iconSeeing the right person at the right time, first time
  • check-iconAbility to deal with any issues quickly, rather than waiting for a more ’traditional’ referral pathway
  • check-iconEarly intervention before any problems become more serious
  • check-iconImprovement in patient care, shorter lead time means that patients can feel more positive about themselves overall and manage any symptoms quicker
  • check-iconImproved nutrition advice can improve the effects of dementia or frailty and reduce the risks of hospital readmission
  • check-iconThorough assessment, diagnosis and treatment of any conditions related to diet, nutrition or digestion
  • check-iconEasier access to specialised knowledge
  • check-iconSupport the patient with any long-term conditions by reviewing them periodically
  • check-iconRemove caseload from GPs and other surgery staff, allowing them to spend more of their time focussing on other patients that they can potentially help
  • check-iconBetter quality, more specialised appointments
  • check-iconReduction of costs related to GP Capacity
  • check-iconLess prescription costs for conditions that can be managed by diet
  • check-iconTrained reception staff who can triage on the phone and direct people to the appropriate person
  • check-iconReduction in overall waiting times, freeing up capacity
  • check-iconDietitians work autonomously and manage their own caseload
  • check-iconIntegration into the local PCN/ Practice workforce
  • check-iconReduction in costly onward referrals to Secondary Care
  • check-iconCan work the extended hours
  • check-iconSupport the management of patients with multimorbid health conditions where there may be conflicting advice around nutrition therapy

How Does it work?


The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme was introduced by NHS England in 2019 to support the recruitment of additional roles into Primary Care. These additional funds were made available to the Primary Care Networks to create more frontline roles and support the reduction in waiting lists at GP surgeries.


The funds are allocated to each PCN and this is calculated according to how many patients they have registered. The PCN is then free to allocate these funds as they see fit and hire for any of the roles that are covered by the ARRS funding.


This funding covers a number of roles, such as Clinical Pharmacists, Social Prescribers, Podiatrists, Paramedics, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, and Physiotherapists to name but a few.


Depending on the demography (and sometimes geography) of the area, the PCN chooses the distribution of roles that best reflects their population and the services that are required.


The PCN applies to their local CCG for these funds. Once they have been agreed, the PCN is able to create any new role and fund it.


The newly employed person does not sit on their direct payroll, with the salary being covered by the AARS funding money that has been made available by NHS England. This might be a person who is hired directly by the PCN or through a company, such as Xcel Health.

What does the Dietitian do?

All Dietitians are qualified and registered with the Health Care Professions Commission and they are the only qualified health professionals that are able to assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems. They use the most up to date research and guidance on food, health and disease which they then turn in to practical guidance. They use a variety of techniques to support patients making appropriate lifestyle and food choices to manage their own conditions, which leads to a significant impact on clinical outcomes.

The dietitian can support the patient with a range of conditions including :

  • check-iconDiabetes
  • check-iconWeight Management
  • check-iconFrailty
  • check-iconFunctional Bowel Disorders and Coeliac disease

Why Choose Xcel Health for your PCN?

We have been providing services into Primary Care Networks since 2019, and are able to draw on our experience of running 4 successful Private Clinics to build a comprehensive and robust model to support our colleagues in the NHS.

We understand the challenges faced by Primary Care Networks and GP surgeries and we work together, becoming an integral part of the surgery to ensure that we get the best outcome for patients, first time, every time.

It is why our Clinicians work really hard to become an integrated member of your local team, ensuring that patients can get the best outcomes on their first visit, every time.

Our highly skilled Clinicians will be able to work with the reception staff to ensure that the correct patients are referred to them and be present in the surgeries to provide support. They will be able to join local meetings and feedback on clinical outcomes and make onward referrals where appropriate.

They have all embarked and passed the FCP Roadmap set out by HEE and done all the required mandatory trainings. We have qualified supervisors who will frequently observe and feed back on their work, ensuring that the highest clinical and ethical standards are met at all times.

Where required, our Clinicians can work remotely to triage patients, providing advice to those in need of it and booking in face to face appointments where required. This is particularly helpful if Clinic space is at a premium and every appointment counts!

We work together with the Primary Care Networks to reduce waste, such as missed appointments and we are proud of the fact that our DNA rate is below the national average of 12%. We achieve this through ensuring that the reception team feel confident about explaining the benefits of the Service and that the patient can see the benefit of such an outcome.


How can we check if you are doing a good job?

good job

We will regularly ask for feedback from patients in regards to their experiences. Not only is this a requirement of HEE, but it is an important part of the role that we do. We have to validate and understand the experience of the patients, so that we can ensure they are satisfied with the service that they receive.

good job

We will also send you monthly data which will typically detail the number of appointment slots and the number of patients seen, the conditions that have been treated and the outcomes. These reports can be tailored if there is anything that you particularly want to see.