Our dietician runs a weekly clinic on patients referred by their doctor. The clinic is not for uncomplicated weight reduction but is provided for patients with medical problems where dietetic help would prove useful (i.e. diabetes, raised cholesterol, bowel disorders).
Dietary advice for hyperlipidaemia (raised cholesterol) and diabetes are the most common reasons for referral. In comparison, the role of the hospital dietician has evolved largely to provide nutritional support to the malnourished and for acute referrals e.g. cardio protective advice following a myocardial infarction.
The demand for dietary advice is increasing for a number of reasons but notably National Service Frameworks (NSFs) for coronary heart disease (CHD), the elderly and the increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes. The number of newly diagnosed diabetics seen by dieticians has increased locally by 94% since 1998. There is a much greater awareness of the link between diet and health both amongst health professionals and patients.
There are many other conditions requiring dietetic services as part of or all of treatment, to help relieve symptoms or to promote a healthy lifestyle.