Frequently Asked Questions Find everything you need to know about coeliac disease, the gluten free diet and the work we do.

Filter Questions By

Reset search

Found 9

I have coeliac disease, when should I wean my baby?

Babies who have an increased risk of coeliac disease should be weaned in the same way as any other child. 

Find out more about feeding your baby here.

Why is access to gluten-free staple food on prescription important?

Wheat is the basis of the staples in the diet and is therefore the most widely consumed grain in the UK. Removing gluten from the diet can therefore have significant impact on the diet.

Rates for adherence to the gluten-free diet can vary between 42-91% [1] and gluten-free staples on prescription have been related to inadvertent adherence [2].  Non-adherence to the gluten-free diet, the medical treatment for coeliac disease is associated with increased risk of complications including osteoporosis, infertility problems and in rare cases intestinal malignancy.

Research has shown that gluten-free staple foods are 3-4 times more expensive than equivalents containing gluten [3,4]. Availability of gluten-free food, particularly in budget supermarkets and corner shops is also limited or non-existent. These access problems underpin the need for provision of gluten-free staple food on prescription, particularly for those on a limited income or with limited mobility.

[1] Hall, N.J. Rubin, G. & Charnock, A. (2009). Systematic review: adherence to a gluten-free diet in adult patients with coeliac disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 30, 315-330.

[2] Hall, N. et al. (2013). Intentional and inadvertent non-adherence in adult coeliac disease. A cross-sectional survey. Appetite 68 56-62

[3] Singh, J. & Whelan, K. (2011). Limited availability and higher cost of gluten-free foods. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 24, 479-486.

[4] Burden, M., et al., Cost and availability of gluten-free food in the UK: in store and online. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 2015: p. postgradmedj-2015-133395

Why isn’t Coeliac UK taking legal action?

In England health policy is localised and in the last 12 months we have taken legal action where a CCG policy presented a blanket ban on gluten free prescribing. See our web page on Somerset CCG.  Once the results of the consultation are known we will consider next steps. The grounds for making a legal challenge may be very restricted if the implementation of change follows the law on the required consultation approach and appropriate changes in the regulations.

I am very busy and only have limited spare time, what can I do?

No matter how little time you can spare, there is always something you can do to help get our message across to others. There are other of people like you who have busy lives and other commitments, but lots of people doing a little, adds up. You could spend 15 minutes using a template to write to your MP, complete an online petition or survey, or, if you have a little longer, talk to your local restaurant about catering gluten-free. Whatever you’re happy to do, it will all help to raise awareness about coeliac disease.

What does this mean for Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland?

There are currently no proposals to amend services in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The consultation only covers England.

Where can I find information to support hospital caterers on providing gluten-free food?

Coeliac UK has produced an online training course for caterers. Further information on the course can be found on the Coeliac UK website.

I don’t see how my small contribution can make a difference.

Campaigning is about getting people who can create change to listen to what you’re saying. This is a slow process which can often mean repeating the same thing in different ways, to the same audience. The more people that get involved in a campaign, the more impact it will have. We rely on local people like yourself, to help us make a difference in your local community. If a lot of people get involved in communities across the country, then the activity joins up and creates a national campaign.

How do I diagnose coeliac disease?

There is a National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline on recognition, assessment and management of coeliac disease for healthcare professionals in Primary and Secondary care. The guideline outlines the symptoms and patients at risk of coeliac disease and also the appropriate blood tests and the exact process to be completed in order to identify patients with coeliac disease.

The British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (BSPGHAN) in collaboration with Coeliac UK published guidelines on the diagnosis of coeliac disease in children in 2013. These guidelines suggest that in some cases in children with symptoms and whose blood tests show a high level of antibodies and who have the genes present for coeliac disease, a biopsy may not be needed to confirm diagnosis. We have further information on the diagnosis of coeliac disease on our website.

Are there any incentives for pharmacists taking part in the Community pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods scheme?

Introducing a pharmacy led supply scheme allows better stock control of gluten-free foods for pharmacists as well as providing a more flexible service to improve the patient experience.

Pharmacists and GP dispensaries are paid a service charge at six monthly intervals for each patient who accesses the service. When the scheme in Northamptonshire was introduced it was run as an Enhanced Service with funding for this element of the contract coming from Primary Care Contracting budgets.