News

Changes to gluten free items on prescription in Coastal West Sussex

Monday 30th July, 2018

Following a national consultation led by the Government on the availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescription, the government has decided to restrict gluten-free prescribing to bread and mixes only.

The government heard from 7941 people and the majority were in favour of this.

Locally, Coastal West Sussex CCG also carried out a survey to hear from our local residents about whether they supported this proposal.

More than 85% of people found it was either moderately acceptable, acceptable or ideal, and people favoured changes to the range of foods rather than changes to the groups of people who could access gluten free food on prescription.

Therefore, Coastal West Sussex CCG considered the guidance from the government earlier this year, and has recommended to its member practices that the CCG follows the national recommendation.

This brings us in line with our neighbouring CCGs across Sussex and avoids any confusion across CCG boundaries and prevents geographical variation.

We appreciate that this will be disappointing and frustrating for people who are currently receiving a wider selection of items on prescription, but it is expected that this will become a formal change later this year across the country.

Gluten-free foods are available on prescription to patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, and have been since the late 1960s when their availability was extremely limited.

A wide range of GF foods is now readily available in supermarkets and other food outlets, meaning that the ability of patients to obtain these foods without a prescription has greatly increased.

We appreciate that there are variable costs for these products and there may be increased costs for those buying the wider range of items going forward. We are sorry for this, but unfortunately the NHS must use its limited budget to maximum effect to provide health and care services for people across the country.