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Coeliac UK statement on Department of Health decision on prescriptions

1 February 2018

We welcome the decision announced today by the Department of Health and Social Care to retain access to gluten free breads and flour mixes on prescription in England. This is a positive outcome for people with coeliac disease, and recognises the need for this important ongoing support in managing a lifelong autoimmune disease.

Please go to here to see the Department of Health and Social Care’s statement.

We believe the government made a reasonable decision at a time when the NHS in England is facing significant financial challenges. The work undertaken by the Department of Health and Social Care has recognised the need for patients with coeliac disease to have ongoing support to manage their condition, and they have paid attention to the evidence we have put forward about the cost, availability and nutritional contribution of gluten free staples in managing a gluten free diet.

The charity will be involved in the development of the final regulations around this decision and will ensure the final outcomes are adequate in enabling patients with coeliac disease, especially the most vulnerable, to adhere to the diet and manage their condition.

While we are pleased that the needs of coeliac disease patients are being recognised at a national level, we are very concerned at the actions already taken by individual Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to remove access to gluten free food on prescription in some regions.  

We will be working hard to make sure individual CCGs fulfil their obligations to manage the health of their patients with coeliac disease, particularly those most at risk of being unable to maintain a gluten free diet.

We will keep those members affected informed of our progress in persuading individual CCGs to reinstate prescriptions.

Read our press release.


Health Minister Lord O'Shaughnessy said:

"We have listened to the views of the public and experts and these changes will mean that patients in England, including people on lower incomes, can still access basic gluten-free foods on prescription - and at the same time we are delivering savings of £4 million per year for the tax payer. These savings will be put back in to the NHS front line.”

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