NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG

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Gluten-free food prescriptions to cease

Gluten-free food prescriptions to cease

From January 1, 2017, Gluten products will no longer be available on prescription for Blackburn with Darwen registered patients.

NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is following over 80 other CCGs across the country including Blackpool, Greater Preston, Chorley & South Ribble and Fylde & Wyre CCG, who have already adopted a no-prescribing policy for gluten-free foods.

Potatoes, rice and corn are naturally gluten-free and other gluten-free products are now widely available in supermarkets, restaurants and shops, and people with coeliac disease can now follow a gluten-free diet without needing specially prescribed foods.

It costs considerably more for the NHS to supply gluten-free products on prescription than to buy them from a supermarket or on-line.

The CCG has a public duty to ensure it spends its monies appropriately to ensure best value. Currently, across Blackburn with Darwen, there is around £110,000 spent every year on prescribing gluten-free products such as bread and flour. Such resources could be invested in other NHS services for patients.

Dr John Randall, Clinical Lead at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said: “We have to use our prescribing budget in the most effective and fair way to improve the health of all of our population.”

Letters are being sent to patients who are affected.

Useful resources

Public information on coeliac disease and its symptoms and causes can be found on the NHS Choices website here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Coeliac-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx

The NHS Choices page above also includes a link to the website of Coeliac UK, the UK’s leading charity for people affected by coeliac disease: https://www.coeliac.org.uk/home/

There is a local Coeliac Society group – East Lancs Local Group. To contact them, please email eastlancs@coeliac.org.uk.

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