Dietetic Support Worker

Dietetic Support Workers assist Dietitians by carrying out patient assessments and reviewing treatment programmes. They work within dietetic and multi-disciplinary teams with other healthcare professionals to ensure safe, effective and person-centred care.

In NHSScotland, Dietetic Support Workers may work in a community or hospital setting. They usually work under the supervision of registered Dietitians to help people with their diet and nutrition.

Dietetic Support Worker in NHSScotland

Dietetic Support Workers have an important role in the dietetic team, as they have a lot of contact with patients. They provide advice on:

  • a patient’s diet and nutrition plan
  • using feeding tubes and pumps
  • making food choices from the hospital menu

They must also have good communication skills and be able to work with people with different backgrounds and lifestyles. Typical duties include:

  • updating patient records
  • advising nurses and healthcare practitioners about the patient’s nutritional requirements and progress
  • updating the dietitian about the patient’s progress and monitoring
  • weighing patients
  • ordering supplies

As a Dietietic Support Worker, you will need to have:

  • an understanding of basic good nutrition and therapeutic diets
  • a good level of physical fitness
  • good listening and communication skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • a positive and enthusiastic attitude

Useful abilities include:

  • being patient and understanding
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good organisational and time management skills
  • being compassionate and sensitive
  • ability to remain calm under pressure

To apply for a job as a Dietetic Support Worker, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Maths. Previous voluntary or paid work experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.

The specific entry requirements will depend of the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary, depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 qualification. Find out more about qualifications for healthcare support workers on the SQA website.

Protecting Vulnverable Groups (PVG) scheme

When applying to become a Dietetic Support Worker, you’ll need evidence of your good health and character, and background checks, such as the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting.

For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local NHSScotland board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

Induction training will be provided by the recruiting NHSScotland board when you start. This includes:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • how to use the equipment

Career development

Working closely with dietitians and experienced Dietietic Support Workers, and by completing a supervised programme of training, you will develop your skills.

You may also be encouraged to work towards further education qualifications, such as SQA HNC Food Science and Technology at SCQF Level 7 or the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) – Allied Health Professions / Dietetics at SCQF Level 6.

With experience and further training, you could apply to become a registered Dietitian.

Find out more information from these professional and regulatory bodies:

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.

British Dietetic Association (BDA)

Founded in 1936, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) represents the whole of the dietetic workforce in the UK. They are trade union and professional body representing the professional, educational, public and workplace interests of our members.