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Consultation on gluten free prescribing by Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG

13 April 2017

Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reviewing its policy on access to gluten free food on prescription and is asking local people for their views. In addition, there is a national consultation from the Department of Health (DH) on the future of gluten free prescribing that you can also respond to and make your voice heard.

The CCG currently follows the National Prescribing Guidelines and prescribes up to 18 units (depending on age and gender) a month of gluten free staple foods. However, the CCG is now considering removing access to gluten free food on prescription.

Research shows that gluten free staple foods are not readily available to purchase in budget supermarkets and convenience stores and that gluten free staple foods are 3-4 times more expensive than gluten containing equivalents.

We will be submitting a formal response in support of continuing access to gluten free food on prescription. We will also be asking local healthcare professionals for their support.

Have your say

The consultation is open until 15 June 2017 and we would encourage you to respond to make sure your voice is heard. You will notice that the survey has no direct question regarding gluten free prescriptions, so whilst we would recommend completing the survey, we would also emphasise the need to highlight your views specifically on gluten free prescriptions by contacting the CCG directly using the details listed below. The online survey can be found at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/L2PWXH3

If you wish to request a hard copy of the survey or contact the CCG directly as recommended, please contact the CCG by emailing SWBCCG.engagement@nhs.net calling 0121 612 2829 or write to NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, Kingston House, 438-450 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 9LD

The CCG has also arranged drop in sessions as an opportunity for you to voice your opinions on this consultation in person. The sessions shall be held on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 10 May at 6pm, Lozells Methodist Church, 163 Gerrard Street, Lozells, Birmingham, B19 2AP
  • Thursday 18 May at 2pm, Handsworth Community Fire Station, 41 Rookery Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9QU
  • Wednesday 7 June at 6pm, YMCA, 38 Carters Green, West Bromwich, B70 9LG
  • Tuesday 13 June at 2pm, Wesley Centre for All, Springhead, Wednesbury, WS10 9AD

We would also encourage you to write to your local MP, we have a sample letter which you can use, or please feel free to write your own letter explaining how the proposed changes would affect you.

As part of our work in opposing proposed prescription cuts, we are looking for people who would be affected by the proposed prescription cuts to act as case studies. This will enable us to give examples to the media of how this policy change would affect people with coeliac disease. To become a case study or to find out more about interview opportunities please call us on 0333 332 2033.

Department of Health national consultation on gluten free prescribing

You may already have seen that the Department of Health has launched a national consultation on gluten free prescribing. The consultation outlines three options for the future of gluten free prescribing in England:

  • make no changes to current gluten free prescribing legislation
  • withdraw all gluten free prescriptions
  • only allow the prescribing of certain gluten free foods (eg limited to bread and flour)

The Department of Health is providing this opportunity for patients to have their say on the above options and again we would like to encourage you to make your voice heard. For further details and to participate in this national survey, please visit our website (www.coeliac.org.uk/dohconsultation) or, if you would like a paper copy of the consultation to respond to, please call us at 0333 332 2033.

We will provide updates as the situation progresses on both consultations through direct mailings, Crossed Grain magazine and on our website.

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