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Decision to remove gluten free food on prescription by Wakefield CCG

18 April 2017

We are very disappointed to tell you that the CCG has now announced the decision to stop prescribing gluten free food as of 1 July 2017.

In view of the higher cost of gluten free staple food, 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 CCG 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.

Although the CCG has made this decision, we would like to stress that your GP is responsible for your medical care and ensuring that your individual clinical needs are met. 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, and is therefore having a detrimental effect on your health, you should see your GP. In individual cases of need GPs will still be able to prescribe gluten free products, after consideration of the exceptionality and approval for funding by the CCG Individual Funding Request Panel. 

Have your say

To respond to your local CCG’s decision to withdraw prescriptions:

  • Contact the local Healthwatch by emailing, or calling on 01924 787379 or writing to Healthwatch Wakefield, 11-13 Upper York Street, Wakefield, WF1 3LQ
  • Contact Wakefield CCG by emailing, writing to NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, White Rose House, West Parade, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1LT, or calling on 01924 213050
  • 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 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 or, if you would like a paper copy of the consultation to respond to, please call us at 0333 332 2033.

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.

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