Purpose: This study explored FS information provision to VP and the role of dietitians.
Methods: A mixed-methods approach included questionnaires completed by trainee-dietitians (n=34), VP (n=40 pregnant women, n=120 chemotherapy patients); review of FS resources available from NHS boards/trusts(n=159); and in-depth stakeholder interviews with the British Dietetic Association, dietetic academics, and registered dietitians.
Results: Overall, FS information provision for VP was lacking. Although all trainee-dietitians reported working with VP, only 35% recalled provision of FS advice, which was most frequently given to pregnant women. Less than half of pregnant women (45%) and chemotherapy patients (49%) reported receiving FS information. FS resources were available from 30% of NHS boards/trusts; considerable gaps existed and information varied greatly between sources. Interviews established that other food-related health issues (diabetes/obesity) were dietetic priorities. Not all VP meet with dietitians, however, dietitians are well-placed to facilitate cascade training to support other healthcare providers to inform and enable VP to mitigate foodborne illness risk. Currently, trainee-dietetic curriculum requires knowledge of FS legislation, often achieved by completion of FS programs designed for food industry employees. This content may not be clinically applicable/specifically tailored for dietitians delivering FS advice to VP. Indeed, 50% of trainee-dietitians believed the training they received was insufficient.
Significance: Amending trainee-dietician curriculum from knowledge of legislation to incorporate FS information provision, along with developing a continuing professional development program for registered dietitians, may improve dissemination of FS advice to VP and healthcare providers. Furthermore, standardized resources are required to support delivery of FS advice.