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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

What qualifications and experience is required?

Coeliac UK volunteers have a range of backgrounds and skills but are united in their goal to help the Charity. We do not ask for any specific qualifications and no previous experience of volunteering is necessary. The roles have been designed to be flexible so that you can tailor them to your experiences and strengths

What support am I given as a volunteer?

There is a team at High Wycombe dedicated to supporting you. They will provide you with the materials and tools you need to support you in your role.

What does 'gluten-free' really mean?

The term 'gluten-free' implies no gluten, but in practice it is not possible to test for a zero level of gluten. Research has shown that people with coeliac disease are able to safely tolerate a very small amount of gluten. As a result low levels of gluten are allowed in products that are labelled gluten-free. When you see the term gluten-free this means that the food contains no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten.

What products can't display the Crossed Grain symbol?

The Crossed Grain symbol can be licensed only for multiple ingredient and/or processed products. Products cannot be licensed if they are composed of a single ingredient or are unprocessed in nature. For example, fresh fruit and vegetables cannot be licensed as they are naturally gluten-free; but fruit bars can be licensed as they have undergone a process which may hold a risk for gluten contamination. For a full list of products that are not permitted to display the Crossed Grain symbol please see Appendix One of the Licensing Information Pack.

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.

How can I find out what foods I can eat?

We publish an annual Food and Drink Directory which lists thousands of foods you can eat, and a Gluten-free Checklist which are free to Members. You can order publications from our online shop.

What advice should be given about including oats in the diet?

Gluten-free oats may be introduced to the diet at any stage following diagnosis. However, a small percentage of people with coeliac disease are sensitive to gluten-free oats and if a patient has ongoing symptoms whilst including gluten-free oats in the diet, their use should be reviewed by a health professional. Read more about oats.

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.

What is Coeliac UK currently campaigning for?

Coeliac UK is campaigning on a range of issues that affect those with coeliac disease. These range from issues around improving diagnosis rates through to getting more gluten-free substitute food into stores.

We are campaigning on the issues most important to our Members and our community. These issues include improving diagnosis, keeping gluten-free prescriptions within the NHS, creating more choice for people with coeliac disease through better provision in shops and restaurants.

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