The Island’s dietitians are to mark the first ever Dietitians Week, which will run from 9 – 13 June. The week aims to raise awareness about the role dietitians play in the health service and the importance of good nutrition to general health and wellbeing.
The Island’s Health Service employs seven dietitians all of who play a wide role in the delivery of services. This includes advising caterers on adequate nutrition for patients – vital during a hospital or care home stay – to training and educating other health and social care workers about nutrition, and of course working with patients and treating medical conditions where dietary and nutritional change can help alleviate symptoms. These conditions include diabetes, eating disorders, food allergies and intolerances and bowel disorders.
The awareness week is part of the profession’s wider ‘Trust a Dietitian’ campaign run by the British Dietetic Association, which emphasises the importance of accessing nutritional and dietary advice from regulated professionals. Registered dietitians are the only qualified professionals that diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems – both at individual level and on a wider public health level. All dietitians must be properly trained and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, with the title ‘dietitian’ protected under the law.
Local activities on the Island will include dietitians explaining more about their role to colleagues and the public, such as information on local services being made available at government catering outlets, the NSC for example. Information leaflets will also be available in the Island’s GP Practices.
Sarah Surgeon, a Senior Dietitian at Noble’s Hospital, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to take part in the first ever Dietitians Week and to talk to our health and social care colleagues and the local community about the importance of good nutrition and how it affects people’s health.
“The public are increasingly recognising the role dietitians can play in treating a wide variety of conditions and so we want to raise the profile of our profession, not only to make sure the public know what services are available, but to ensure that they’re aware about the importance of regulation. Whereas the use of the term dietitian is restricted by law, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist or a diet expert without being registered or regulated. So we’re happy to be able to help educate the public to ensure that if they do need to seek advice and treatment that they know how to access this from a regulated and professional dietitian.”
Anyone wishing to seek advice from one of the Island’s dietitians should speak to their GP in the first instance, who will be able to arrange a referral where appropriate.