Deakin University

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Doctors identify regulatory barriers for their patients with type 2 diabetes to access the nutritional expertise of dietitians

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-28, 00:35 authored by George Siopis, S Colagiuri, M Allman-Farinelli
Diet is central to the management of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and better outcomes are achieved when the dietary intervention is delivered by a dietitian. Yet, many people with T2D never see a dietitian. It has been proposed that doctors prefer to provide the dietary advice themselves or rely on medication to treat their patients instead of referring them to a dietitian. This study aimed to collect the opinions and perspectives of doctors with regard to the dietary management of people with T2D in Australia. GPs and physicians treating people with T2D were recruited to participate in semistructured interviews conducted over the telephone. Inductive thematic analysis of content was conducted. Five GPs and seven physicians participated in the study. The qualitative analysis identified four main themes: the importance and role of diet in the management of T2D; the perceived value of dietetic care; access to dietetic services; and patients' motivation to consult a dietitian. All participants acknowledged the importance of diet in the treatment of T2D and all but one preferred to refer patients to a dietitian for nutritional management. Among the reported barriers to accessing dietetic services were: specialist physicians' lack of access to the national referral scheme for chronic conditions; patients' financial circumstances; and inadequacy of the number of subsidised sessions. It is important to facilitate and subsidise access to dietetic services through existing mechanisms by increasing the number of visits on the chronic disease management scheme and providing referral rights to specialist physicians.



Australian Journal of Primary Health




312 - 318