How do I get to see a dietitian?

You can be referred to our department by your healthcare professional e.g. doctor, nurse, speech and language therapist, physiotherapist.

For general advice, please look at our patient information leaflets.

What should I expect when I see a dietitian?

Your dietitian will provide a professional, non judgmental consultation regarding your diet.

They will assess your current diet, take relevant measurements e.g. weight and height and make practical recommendations to you. 

Advice will be evidence based or follow best practice guidelines.

What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?

Choosing the right person to seek help and advice from can sometimes be a confusing task.  Many people claim to be experts in nutrition yet have a very limited knowledge and offer no protection to the public.

Dietitians and nutritionists both evaluate the health of their clients. The title of “nutritionist” is not as regulated as the title “dietitian”, meaning that the name “nutritionist” can be used by anyone, without the need to prove any qualifications. 

The title of “dietitian” is protected by law.  Anyone using the title must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Registered dietitians (RDs) are the only qualified health professionals in the UK that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level.

Dietitians 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 guidelines to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated be law, and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard.

Most of the major food manufacturers employ nutritionists and food scientists and there are also opportunities in journalism, research and education.  In the UK there is a voluntary Register of Nutritionists but this is not mandatory.

Click here the Association of UK Dietitians

How do I become a dietitian?

If you are interested in people, food, science and medicine and want a job which offers a wide range of possibilities and the opportunity to excel, becoming a dietitian is the ideal career.

To practise as a Dietitian you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

In order to register with the HCPC you must first successfully complete an approved degree in dietetics.  This is usually a BSC (Hons) degree, although there are shortened post graduate programmes if you already have a relevant first degree.

Click here for more information on the Association of British Dietitians website.

What should I do if I can't attend my appointment for any reason?

If you need to change your appointment, please contact the outpatient telephone number on your appointment letter as soon as possible.  This will enable us to offer your slot to another patient.

If you do not attend your appointment, and you have not contacted the outpatients office or the relevant dietetic department to let us know that you are unable to attend, you will be discharged from clinic and will need another referral if you would like to be seen again.

How many appointments will I need?

At your first appointment, your dietitian will assess you fully which is why this visit will take longer.  The requirement for follow-up appointments will be discussed and agreed between you and your dietitian.

Other information about your appointment.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a teaching hospital and therefore student dietitians treat patients with or without the supervision of qualified staff.

If you do not wish to be treated by a student, please telephone the department to let us know.