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a gluten free bread imageMay 15 2018

NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG is proposing that gluten free foods will no longer be available on NHS prescriptions for any of its patients.

A consultation running until May 25 says that 234 local patients currently receive gluten free foods on NHS prescription. It notes that the “national engagement” in 2017 on the availability of GF foods on prescription in primary care “concluded that GF prescribing should be restricted to bread and flour mixes only. These restrictions will be imposed across the whole NHS later this year (2018).”

However, the CCG says that many CCGs had already restricted the type and quantity of GF foods available on prescription prior to this “and a growing number of CCGs have discontinued GF prescribing altogether.”

For NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG, discontinuing availability of gluten free foods on prescription locally would release approximately £50,000 each year.

Coeliac UK, the national charity helping people living without gluten, is opposing the CCG’s proposals. “We will be submitting a formal response in support of continuing access to gluten free food on prescription,” it said.

“Our arguments will focus on the importance of gluten free staples on prescription to support management and adherence to the gluten free diet in view of higher cost and limited availability. 

“Research shows that gluten free staple foods are not readily available to purchase in budget supermarkets and convenience stores and that gluten free staple foods are 3-4 times more expensive than gluten containing equivalents. We will also be asking local healthcare professionals for their support.”

The charity is asking people to lobby their local MP and, as part of its work in opposing prescription cuts, it is looking for people affected by these changes to act as case studies. 

“This will enable us to give examples to the media of how this policy change would affect people with coeliac disease. To become a case study or to find out more about interview opportunities please call us on 0333 332 2033,” it said.

Links:
NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG Gluten Free prescribing consultation         
Coeliac UK announcement        

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