Dietary Advice and Collaborative Working : Do Pharmacists and Allied Health Professionals Other Than Dietitians Have a Role?
Long term health conditions either wholly or partly diet-related continue to increase. Although pharmacists and allied health professionals (AHPs) have a role in the management of patients with long term conditions, there is limited research exploring whether pharmacists and AHPs other than dietitians have a role in the delivery of dietary advice. This research aimed to explore their views regarding the provision of dietary advice to patients. The research involved a qualitative methodology utilising five uni-professional focus groups with a total of 23 participants. All groups considered the provision of dietary advice in the context of their own professional roles, discussed issues relating to referral to the dietitian for specialist advice and most discussed the need for written information. Interprofessional and collaborative working is needed to maximise the role in the delivery of dietary advice, access to evidence based nutritional information and utlisation of referral pathways across pharmacists and AHPs to ensure the timely provision of nutritional advice to patients. There is a potential role for dietitians to take the lead and further research should focus on this area.