Decision on GF prescribing in North Somerset & South Gloucestershire CCGs
3 August 2017
We are very disappointed to tell you that the CCGs have made the decision to remove access to gluten free food on prescription for adults from 14 August. Children under the age of 18 will continue to be able to receive gluten free bread, pasta, flour and flour mixes on prescription.
We understand the importance of having access to gluten free food on prescription, particularly for people on low incomes or 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 CCGs to save money will affect people’s ability to stick to the gluten free diet and that this in turn will result in ongoing symptoms and also increase 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.
The CCGs have 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.
Have your say
To respond to your local CCGs decision to withdraw prescriptions:
• Contact your local healthwatch:
- Contact Healthwatch South Gloucestershire by email, calling 01454 543 402 or writing to Healthwatch South Gloucestershire, The Care Forum, Gill Ave, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2QQ
- Contact Healthwatch North Somerset by email, calling 01275 851 400 or writing to Healthwatch North Somerset, 3rd Floor, The Sion, Crown Glass Place, Nailsea, BS48 1RB
• Contact your local CCG, if you don’t know which CCG area you live in you can check on our website or you can ask us by calling on 0333 332 2033:
- Contact North Somerset CCG by email, writing to NHS North Somerset CCG, Post Point 11, Clevedon, North Somerset, BS21 6FW, or calling on 01275 546702
- Contact South Gloucestershire CCG by emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org), writing to NHS South Gloucestershire CCG, Corum 2, Corum Office Park, Crown Way, Warmley, South Gloucestershire, BS30 8FJ, or calling on 0117 947 4400
• 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
As part of our work, we are looking for people affected by prescribing cuts to act as case studies. This will enable us to give examples to the media of how this policy change has affected 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 CCGs on the issue and will also seek the support of clinicians in the area. We will be asking the CCGs 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 not due to be published until the autumn and in the meantime we will be stepping up our lobbying of MPs on this issue.
We will be challenging both CCGs 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 results of the national consultation are known.
We will keep you informed about our campaigns and research and let you know about developments in gluten free prescribing in Crossed Grain magazine, our electronic newsletters and on our website.