NHS Bradford City and NHS Bradford Districts CCGs have reviewed gluten-free (GF) prescribing and recommended that, from 1 December 2016, GPs no longer prescribe gluten-free products.
This decision was based on clinical evidence, financial information and feedback from a public consultation on GF prescribing.
The NHS is still spending £25m a year to provide GF products on prescription. In Bradford we are spending around £320,000 a year on this service. With an increasing demand for services, the NHS must look at all products and services and make decisions about what services to expand and what to reduce.
There are a very small number of patients who currently receive low protein GF food on prescription, but they will be unaffected by this change. They do not have coeliac disease, but have illnesses which require them to eat an extremely restricted diet for which specialist foods are not available on the high street.
While we know that this change may be unwelcome for some patients, the savings will help our local NHS care for those patients at greatest need.
To help patients maintain a healthy and balanced diet, the charity Coeliac UK publishes an annual list of naturally GF foods which can be included in a regular grocery shop. More information about the 2016 directory can be found at on the Coeliac UK website.