NHS Guidance on prescribing of gluten free foods in England
30 November 2018
NHS England has now published its guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on prescribing of gluten free foods in England. This follows the decision announced earlier this year by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to retain access to gluten free foods on prescription in England but restrict products to gluten free breads and flour mixes and to remove access to all other gluten free foods such as gluten free pasta and breakfast cereals.
We are reassured that the NHS England guidance states that the objective is to address the variation in prescribing policies for gluten free food across England. This is in line with our aims and is something that we have been working towards, with the support of our members for many years.
However, we are concerned that the interpretation of certain statements within the guidance to CCGs will prevent this objective from being met as they provide the green light for CCGs to maintain their current restrictions or, in areas where prescriptions are available, condone restricting access further than the national guidance. This is completely at odds with the findings of the national consultation on ‘The Future of Gluten Free Prescribing,’ the resulting DHSC position and the overall objective as stated by NHS England: “Advise CCGs to support prescribers to prescribe in line with the revised regulations which allow for no gluten-free products to be prescribed at NHS expense, other than gluten-free bread and/or gluten-free mixes.”
We have raised our concerns with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and will be monitoring the impact of this new guidance on local CCG policies.