Shropshire CCG cuts GF prescriptions without consultation
10 August 2017
Coeliac UK is shocked to learn about the cuts to gluten free prescriptions announced by Shropshire CCG which have been implemented without consultation, a decision that will result in health inequality and have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable.
Coeliac UK is concerned that any cuts to gluten free prescriptions will leave vulnerable patients with coeliac disease without support which will affect their ability to stick to the gluten free diet - the only treatment for the condition.
The government has recently closed a national consultation on the future of gluten free prescribing, the charity’s full response to that consultation can be read here. Chief executive of Coeliac UK, Sarah Sleet said: “The national consultation has now ended but a decision has not yet been made. Surely the decision by Shropshire CCG to remove gluten free prescribing locally, and without consulting the patients affected by this decision, is irresponsible, especially when this is currently under review at a national level - with their results due to be published in the autumn.”
“We wrote to Shropshire CCG in June this year to highlight the legality of not undertaking a consultation. The need to consult with patients about changes to local services is documented in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and was also confirmed in the Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons on 2 November 2016. When David Mowat MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health said:
“CCGs should not withdraw gluten free products without a consultation. My understanding is that in all cases where that has happened, a consultation has taken place. If he can provide me with evidence of that not being so, I will follow up and take action. The information I have been given is that consultations should always have taken place.”
“A letter published on the CCG’s website and sent to care home managers, states that the CCG has informed Coeliac UK of the decision but we have received no response to either of our letters. As there was no consultation we, nor patients in Shropshire, have had the opportunity to put forward our position on gluten free prescribing, meaning a decision to cut this vital service has been made on unfounded information and not facts.” continued Ms Sleet.
We are particularly concerned that Shropshire CCG have taken this decision without holding a consultation and we will continue to challenge this approach. We will also seek the support of clinicians in the area and will be asking the CCG how the impact of the change on the long term health of people with coeliac disease will be monitored.
Have your say
To respond to your local CCG’s decision to withdraw prescriptions:
• Contact your local Healthwatch by emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org) calling on 01743 237 884 or writing to Freepost Healthwatch Shropshire
• Contact Shropshire CCG by emailing (SHRCCG.ShropshireCCG@nhs.net), writing to Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, William Farr House, Mytton Oak Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 8XL or calling on 01743 277500
• Write to your local MP, we have a sample letter on our website (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
• 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 the Shropshire 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.