A South African Dietitian's Guide to the UK Diet Scene

Nicole Keeling
August 9, 2023
5 min read

To all my fellow South African dietitians, if you’re looking to pursue life as a dietitian in the UK check out the following tips:

1. Register with the HCPC

This process is a lengthy one so my advice would be to start as soon as possible. You need a lot of documentation so be prepared to spend a couple of weeks filling out everything before it’s ready to be sent. Step 1would be to contact your University and asked them for your full academic transcript (roughly R1000). This usually takes Universities 3-6 weeks to send over so it is definitely a good starting point. While those documents are beinggathered, start filling out the forms required by the HCPC. There are excellentFacebook support groups you can join specifically for people wanting to jointhe HCPC – these are super useful and people from all across the globe will askand answer questions relating to the process.

2. Mind the Vocabulary Gap:

Get ready to decipher a whole new set of food terms. Theword ‘supper’ may not be understood and the word ‘dinner’ can also be referredto as ‘tea’. You might find yourself explaining that "braai" is basically just a barbeque.

3. Navigating the NHS:

Welcome to the world of the National Health Service (NHS).As a dietitian, you'll play a vital role in helping patients with variousnutritional needs. Be prepared to collaborate with other healthcareprofessionals on a daily basis. The exposure and experience you get working forPCD is incredible as cases you see differ on a daily basis.

4. Network Like a Pro:

Engage with local dietitians, join professional organizations, and attend workshops. There are so many opportunities here that you will have exposure to in terms of courses, different brands and more.

6. Weather-Proof Your Diet:

Rain, rain, and more rain. You might need to adjust yourdiet recommendations to suit the sometimes gloomy weather. Suggestmood-boosting foods for those cloudy days and remind clients that Vitamin Dsupplements are their new best friends.

7. Embrace Multiculturalism:

The UK has such an array of cultures. Draw inspiration fromdiverse cuisines to create unique and delicious meal plans that cater tovarious tastes and dietary requirements.

8. Accommodation:

Depending on where you get placed, finding accommodation maybe a bit of a nightmare. Join as many Facebook groups as possible (The Bark, SAFFAS in London, South Africans in London) as well as looking on the followingwebsites: Spare Room, Right Move, Zoopla.

If you're a dietitian from South Africa and would like more information about our roles, you can submit you CV here.

Nicole Keeling
First Contact Dietitian, Primary Care Dietitians