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Community pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods

About the toolkit

The toolkit outlines the business case for reviewing how gluten-free foods are supplied for patients with coeliac disease. Through the use of a pharmacy led supply scheme, gluten-free foods are supplied directly from community pharmacists, thus minimising the workload for the GP practice.

Benefits of pharmacy supply schemes

The establishment of a local enhanced service allows commissioners to standardise the amounts of gluten-free food supplied to different groups of patients, which addresses concerns within the NHS in regards to excessive prescribing and off tariff prescribing. 

The potential benefits of changing to pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods include:

  • release of GP time 
  • better product control 
  • better cost control as more patients are diagnosed with coeliac disease 
  • improved patient choice and experience. 

A review of established schemes in Northamptonshire and Cumbria has shown significant cost savings. Feedback from GPs, pharmacy and patient stakeholders has also been overwhelmingly positive. 

One GP in Cumbria has been at the forefront of GP commissioning and has been able to assess pharmacy led prescribing from two different perspectives; as a GP in clinical practice and also as a commissioning GP with budgetary responsibility

Dr Fayyaz Chaudhri a GP at Maryport Health Services stated: ”I have been involved with this scheme in Cumbria for a number of years and have first hand experience of the benefits to both patient and GP. There is a real issue to address in ensuring the supply of gluten-free foods is cost effective for the NHS, patient and taxpayer and I believe that this toolkit needs to be rolled out across the country.”

Using the toolkit

The toolkit has been written by Coeliac UK, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), and is supported by the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology (PCSG) and the Dispensing Doctors Association. 

The Pharmacy Led Prescribing Toolkit gives guidance and instruction to Clinical Commissioning Groups on how they can set up a scheme in their local area.

You can download the toolkit from the right hand side of this page.

For answers to your frequently asked questions please see our Healthcare Professional FAQ page.

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