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Food on prescription

Prescriptions

  • If you are diagnosed with coeliac disease by a doctor, you can receive gluten-free staple foods via prescription from your GP
  • The National Prescribing Guidelines make recommendations on the amounts of gluten-free staple foods you can expect to receive on prescription each month.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) is an independent body who advise the Department of Health and approve the gluten-free staple foods that can be prescribed to those diagnosed with coeliac disease, including:

Gluten-free foods with ACBS approval:
Bread / rolls
Breakfast cereals
Crackers and crispbreads
Flour / flour-type mixes
Oats
Pasta
Pizza bases

Generally only products approved by the ACBS will be prescribed, but alternatives may be prescribed if the GP or other healthcare professional believes this to be needed for your care.

In most parts of the country, as with prescriptions for medicines, your GP can write a prescription which can then be dispensed by a pharmacist. This may differ in certain areas.

While following your gluten-free diet, you may want to change the products you receive on prescription. For preferred products you may find that you can reorder these items from a repeat prescription, without visiting your GP. However, if you want to change the items on your prescription you may find you need to make an appointment to see your GP.

If you are unsure about which products to order on prescription, our Prescribable Products list helps you identify all of the gluten-free staples that have been approved for prescribing. You can download a copy on the right hand side of this page. This information can also be found in our Food and Drink Directory, this is kept current within our regular Food and Drink Directory updates published online and in Crossed Grain.

Your dietitian will be able to give you advice on your gluten-free diet. If you are newly diagnosed, check that you have been referred to a dietitian. Your GP or hospital doctor can arrange this.

You can also contact manufacturers directly, who will be able to give you information on their range of products and they are usually happy to send out samples.

Paying for prescriptions

In England, prescriptions for gluten-free food are not free of charge unless you qualify for free prescriptions. Find out if you qualify for free prescriptions.

Usually you will need to pay one prescription charge for each item on your prescription. The prescription charge in England is £8.20, as of 1 April 2015.

Prescriptions are free to everyone living in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

If you pay for prescriptions, it may save you money to purchase a pre payment certificate (PPC) which allows you to pay a set fee for either three months or 12 months. A PPC costs £29.10 for three months or £104 for 12 months.

A PPC covers you for all of your NHS prescription costs, no matter how many you need. To find out more about PPCs, speak to your local pharmacist, call 0300 330 1341 or you can order one online.

Sarah Sleet, Coeliac UK’s Chief Executive, discusses why access to gluten-free food on prescription is so vital for those with coeliac disease: 

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