Decision by NHS Sheffield to stop prescribing gluten free food for adults
16 November 2017
We are very disappointed to tell you that the CCG has made the decision to remove access to gluten free food on prescription for adults. This guidance will come into effect as of 1 December 2017. There have been no changes to guidelines for prescribing gluten free food for children.
The CCG has confirmed that GPs can use their clinical discretion to prescribe outside of these guidelines. Therefore, if you are concerned that this policy change is having an impact on your ability to manage your gluten free diet and your coeliac disease, you should see your GP for advice.
We understand the importance of having access to gluten free food on prescription, particularly for people on low incomes and those only able to shop in small convenience stores that do not stock staple gluten free foods. We are concerned that the measures taken by the CCG to save money will affect the ability of patients with coeliac disease to stick to the gluten free diet and that this will result in an increase in the likelihood of complications of coeliac disease. As well as the individual suffering this may cause, it will also cost the NHS more in the long term.
To respond to your local CCG’s decision to withdraw prescriptions:
• Contact Healthwatch Sheffield by emailing (email@example.com), calling 0114 253 6688 or writing to Healthwatch Sheffield, The Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield, S1 4FW
• Contact Sheffield CCG by emailing (sheCCG.sheffieldCCG@nhs.net), writing to NHS Sheffield CCG, 722 Prince of Wales Road, Sheffield, S9 4EU, or calling on 0114 305 1000
• Write to your local MP, we have a sample letter on our website which you can use, or please feel free to write your own letter explaining how the changes will affect you
• Speak with your local GP about your individual case
• Watch out for more information on next campaign steps particularly on our website
Become a case study
As part of our work in opposing prescription cuts, we are looking for people affected by these changes 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.
We will continue to make strong representations to the CCG on the issue and will also seek the support of clinicians in the area. We will be asking the CCG how the impact of the change on the long-term health of people with coeliac disease will be monitored.
Department of Health national consultation on gluten free prescribing
You may have read in Crossed Grain magazine or on our website about the Department of Health consultation on the future of gluten free prescribing. This consultation is looking at three options for the future of gluten free prescribing across 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)
We have responded to the national consultation and you can read our response here. We have also had a meeting with representatives from the Department of Health to fight to retain access to prescribing. The report on the consultation is due to be published this autumn and in the meantime we are stepping up our lobbying of MPs on this issue.
We will be challenging Sheffield CCG on their decision to make changes to local prescribing while a national consultation is underway. We will also ask how they will be reviewing their local policy once the result of the national consultation is known.
We will keep you informed about our campaigning and research and let you know about developments in gluten free prescribing in Crossed Grain magazine, our electronic newsletters and on our website.