Decision to remove gluten free food on prescription in West Kent
31 July 2017
We are very disappointed to tell you that the CCG has made the decision to remove access to gluten free food on prescription as of 1 September 2017. 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. The CCG has confirmed that healthcare professionals can make an individual funding request on behalf of a patient should they feel their health is at risk as a result of this policy change. 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 and for more information on individual funding requests.
Have your say
To respond to your local CCG’s decision to withdraw prescriptions:
- Contact your local Healthwatch at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 0808 801 0102 or writing to Healthwatch Kent, Seabrooke House, Church Road, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1RD
- Contact West Kent CCG by emailing (email@example.com), by calling 01732 375200 writing to West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, Wharf House, Medway Wharf Road, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1RE
- 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 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 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 West Kent 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 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.