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Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I volunteer if I work full time?

Yes. Many of our volunteers work full time. We aim to provide flexible roles which can be carried out around your other commitments, be they work, family or leisure.

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.

Why does Coeliac UK engage with volunteers?

Coeliac UK engages with volunteers because they are very important in helping us achieve our vision and mission. Not only do volunteers add to the Charity through their skills and experiences, but they also bring with them passion and a desire to help. Volunteers are an essential part of Coeliac UK.

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.

Are prescriptions products safer than retail products?

All gluten free foods are covered by the same legislation and therefore need to reach the same standard to be labelled gluten free whether they are available from shops or on prescription.

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.

Can the Community pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods toolkit be used for individual GP dispensing practices?

It would be difficult to set up a pharmacy led supply scheme as an independent. If you are interested in setting up a pharmacy led supply scheme we would recommend speaking with your local Clinical Commissioning Group and other GP surgeries in your area to consider the potential for collaboration.

Items supplied on prescription are reimbursed through the national Prescription Pricing Department (PPD). The PPD receives all prescriptions dispensed and reimburses individual pharmacies and GP dispensaries accordingly.The cost of each prescription is taken from the appropriate GP surgery prescribing budget. In Northamptonshire, when the pharmacy led supply scheme was introduced in 2006, the funds came from the existing Primary Care Trust (PCT) prescribing budget.

How can Coeliac UK support my fundraising?

We are grateful to all of our fundraisers for taking the time to raise vital funds for Coeliac UK and to help you in your efforts, we can provide you with some key fundraising materials. Whether you’d like a t shirt sporting the Coeliac UK logo to wear at an event, a collection box, a banner, balloons, posters or anything else, please get in touch with our Fundraising Team and we’ll be able to supply you with these.

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