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Writing GP letters: top tips for dietitians

Communicating with GPs and other clinicians who refer clients to us is part of what dietitians do. It meets Medicare requirements for Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plans, it monitors client progress and can flag concerns about a client. It can also provide GPs with some nutrition knowledge and affirms that dietitians are part of the healthcare team.

But what makes for good written communication from a dietitian?

We asked GPs for their preferences - and these are their tips.

What should a report or letter include?

  • An overall nutritional assessment and the main issue to be addressed.  
  • Details of any specific diet/dietary recommendations and/or education the patient may need.
  • An overall plan of what the dietitian’s input needs to be - e.g. does the patient need ongoing dietitian appointments or just a one-off? Are meal plans required?
  • Any requests by the dietitian to the GP - e.g. if any investigations, medical monitoring, or specialist referrals are needed.  
  • Any change in a treatment plan.


The patient’s condition can often dictate the key things that are really useful for a GP to know - e.g. with anorexia nervosa, it can be useful to have a bit of detail about the meal plan and expectations around this, whereas with Type 2 diabetes, generally a few dot points would be enough.

How long should a letter or report be?

  • Keep it concise, not wordy - GPs don’t get a lot of time to read!  
  • Dot points are helpful.
  • Keep it to a single page - where possible. This makes it easier to quickly scan through the information.

What about abbreviations?

  • It’s best to avoid them - or to at least spell out the full name of the abbreviation in the first instance and then use the acronym after that.

How often should we write to the referring GP/clinician?

  • Dietitians should write to the GP with the initial EPC plan, and after each subsequent set of EPC sessions.
  • If dietitian consultations continue after the EPC, then write to the GP annually or each time a major update is required.  
  • As often as clinically needed - if everything is stable, with little change, there's no need to update. But an update is useful if there's a big shift in the patient presentation or you need specific investigations.