Decision to remove gluten free food on prescription by Bristol CCG
4 July 2018
In January we informed you that Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) were reviewing their policy on access to gluten free food on prescription and gave you the opportunity to have your say. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation.
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. Children under the age of 18 will continue to be able to receive gluten free bread, pasta, flour and flour mixes on prescription.
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.
National decision on the future of gluten free prescribing
You may have read in Crossed Grain magazine or on our website that the Department of Health and Social Care held a national consultation on the future of gluten free prescribing. The decision has been announced to retain access to gluten free bread and flour mixes on prescription.
The decision by Bristol CCG is therefore at odds with the national guidance. CCGs can make their own policies but this is difficult to justify in light of the national decision and we will be challenging the CCG on this decision.
To respond to your local CCGs decision to withdraw prescriptions:
- Contact Healthwatch Bristol by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 0117 269 0400 or writing to Healthwatch Bristol, The Care Forum, Gill Ave, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2QQ.
- Contact Bristol CCG by emailing BNSSG.email@example.com, writing to Bristol CCG, South Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol, BS1 3NX, or calling on 0117 947 4400
- Write to your local MP, we have a sample letter at www.coeliac.org.uk/prescriptioncampaign 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.
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.
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 CCG on the issue and will also seek the support of healthcare professionals 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.
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.