Background: Management guidelines for care of coeliac patients published by the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), 2002 recommend that patients should see a dietitian at diagnosis and at least at annual review. In the absence of information on dietetic provision in coeliac disease management in the UK and with surveys in other countries suggesting that patients with coeliac disease gain most information from coeliac support groups (Green et al., 2001), Coeliac UK set out to investigate dietetic services for coeliac patients in the UK.
Methods: Questionnaires were sent to dietetic departments in the UK via the Regional Managers Group of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) by email. The questionnaires were in two parts, the first was completed by the dietetic manager and the second by the dietitian with the main responsibility for the management of coeliac patients within the department.
Results: Over one-quarter of departments reported allocating a maximum of 1 h of dietitians' time per month per 100,000 population to seeing coeliac patients. More hours were allocated to coeliac patients in departments where dietitians had attended coeliac disease training, where dietitians were professional members of Coeliac UK or where coeliac patient care was undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team.
Conclusion: There is wide variation in dietetic provision for diagnosed coeliac patients in the UK. The Coeliac UK survey suggests that the current level of dietetic provision is in the region of one-third of what is required according to the BSG management guidelines (British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), 2002) to provide diagnosed coeliacs with only basic support and annual review.