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Your voice on health and social care

Consultation on availability of gluten-free foods on prescription


A consultation has been launched on Department of Health proposals on whether or not to make changes to availability of gluten free (GF) foods that are prescribed in primary care.

Staple GF foods are available on prescription to patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity enteropathies, and have been since the late 1960s when the availability of GF foods was limited. GF foods are now readily available in supermarkets and a wider range of naturally GF food types are now available, so the ability of patients to obtain these foods without a prescription has greatly increased.

The Department of Health says that changes to the prescribing of GF foods could save NHS resources and reduce the primary care prescription drugs bill by up to £25.7 million per annum.

Many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) now have limited types or units of GF foods available on prescription. A number of CCGs provide only bread and flour; several have stopped prescribing all GF foods. CCGs were set up to ensure that their local populations receive the medicines and treatments they require, with locally managed resources. Differing approaches to the availability of GF foods is creating regional variations across England.

Any changes made would only apply to primary care prescribing, and would not impact secondary care. The consultation runs until June 22 2017.

For full details, please click on the document below.