Consultation on proposed changes to gluten free prescriptions

NHS Buckinghamshire has launched a consultation on the proposed changes to gluten-free prescriptions

As gluten free prescriptions for patients in Buckinghamshire face cuts, NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is consulting with the local community. They want to assess their views on the prescription of gluten-free food in the area, with the possibility of removing access to gluten-free bread and flour mix being available on prescription.

gluten free prescriptions

The proposed change is to discontinue prescribing gluten free foods for most people, due to the increased availability of products recently. As the NHS faces budget cuts, these proposals are meant to relieve the pressure.

Currently, prescriptions of gluten-free foods are only available to those that have been formally diagnosed with gluten sensitive enteropathies, including coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. Up to eight ‘units’ are available per person per month, and units include 400g of bread or 250g of flour mix.

In Buckinghamshire currently, only 355 people are collecting GF foods on prescription. Most of these are women (214), many are under the age of 18 (56) and 4 have a learning disability. The cost for these prescriptions for the NHS was £111,000 last year.

The CCG will collect feedback from the consultation for 8 weeks before announcing their final decision.

Coeliac UK has announced their concerns with the proposal, stating that they “have shared evidence with the CCG around the increased cost and limited availability of gluten free staple foods and their role in supporting management and adherence to the gluten free diet.

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.”

They urge the public to have their say in the consultation, which closes on the 11th of December 2019. They are also encouraging letters to be written to local MPs, with a sample letter on their website for guidance.

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